Speaking publically, in front of other people, is a skill that you will often be called to utilize. But, many people cite public speaking as their top fear, way above getting struck by lightening or bitten by a snake. The way past this fear is increased knowledge of public speaking, how to prepare, and present and effective oral presentation. Dr. John's Guide to Public Speaking can help.
Generally, the general purpose of your speech will be to
Prepare a Specific Purpose Statement for your speech. The Specific Purpose Statement has two functions
(1). To Narrow
(2). To Focus
Whatever the function, the Specific Purpose Statement should state exactly what you want to accomplish in your speech.
Your central idea is the basic message of your speech. It is
About your central idea . . .
There are three benefits to formulating your General Purpose and Specific Purpose Statements
(1). Saves you time
(2). Helps to focus your thoughts
(3). Helps to produce a better speech
Start with your Specific Purpose (the goal of your speech) and your Central Idea (the key concept you want to get across to your audience)
(1). Topic (or Central Idea)
(2). Main Points
(3). Supporting Details
Create your main points by asking these questions.
Supporting details must be relevant; they must support, explain, illustrate, or reinforce your central idea (your message). They cannot be thrown in simply to enliven your speech.
Every introduction serves two functions
(1). Secures your audience's attention and interest
(2). Prepares audience intellectually and psychologically for the body of your speech.
To avoid these dangers, alert your audience to the type of question(s) you are asking
Your conclusion is very important. It can either add to or subtract from your audience's opinion of your entire speech. Your conclusion may well determine the overall success of your speech.
(1). Signals the end of your speech
Audience needs sense of conclusion, sense of finality, sense that all the loose ends are tied up. Signal your conclusion by telling your audience that it is coming—say "in conclusion," raise your voice, intensify facial expressions and gestures.
(2). Summarizes key ideas
Attention of audience picks up when you signal conclusion, good opportunity to reinforce your message, good way to do this is by summarizing. Restatement of key ideas helpsaudience to remember them. Summary should be brief.
(3). Reinforces the Central Idea with A Clincher
Citing a quotation, issuing an appeal or challenge, giving an illustration, referring to the introduction.
Since speeches are delivered orally, it is important to listen carefully to what the speaker says in order to understand the Central Idea. There are three models (perspectives) for listening comprehension
(1). Semantic perspective
(2). Pragmatic perspective
(3). Oral speech perspective
Semantic perspective deal with short term retention of raw chunks of speech, identification of speech content and function, constructing propositions, grouping these propositions into coherent messages, long term retention of reconstructed propositional meanings.
The pragmatic perspective is based on the belief that there is an illocutionary force/meaning behind much of what we say.
Illocution = the message behind what we say.
The oral speech perspective deals with the various forms of the spoken medium the listener must deal with in order to comprehend speech. The act of speaking imposes a particular form on utterances, and this considerably affects how messages are understood. Factors which result from this are called medium factors.
The unit of organization in written communication is the sentence. In spoken communication, the unit of organization is the clause. Spoken information is generally delivered one clause at a time. Clauses appear to be a major constituent in both planning and delivery of speech. Coordinating conjunctions like "and" and "ums" are frequently used as coordinating or linking elements between clausal chunks of speech.
In articulating clauses, speakers are guided by their need to express meanings efficiently. This means that words that play a less crucial role in the message may be slurred or dropped, and other words given more prominence.
Speech is often grammatically incorrect but the meaning is still understood. Due to the effort speakers put into planning and organizing the content of their utterances in ongoing time, grammaticality is often less relevant than the coherence of ideas. Coherence is more important than grammar. For example "Tony apples" is grammatically incorrect, but it conveys the message that Tony likes apples.
Pauses indicate speaker is planning and selecting. Pauses may be either "silent" or "filled." Filled pauses contain items like uh, oh, hmm, ah, well, say, sort of, just, kind of, I mean, you know, I think, I guess—all indicate speaker is searching for word, or an approximation of it, to connect two clausal chunks of speech.
The impression of fast or slow delivery generally results from the amount of intraclausal pausing that speakers use. Frequent pauses create the impression of slow speech. Elimination of pauses creates the impression of rapid speech.
English is a rhythmic language. The stress placed on each word by the speaker is important for the listener's attempt to make meaning of the utterance. Listeners must be able to interpret words in stressed, mildly stressed, and unstressed forms, not merely in their ideal forms as listed in a dictionary.
As in written communication there are mechanisms for marking grammatical ties within and between sentences. But in spoken communication, these markers may function differently than they do in written form. For example, in written form the meanings of the underlined markers are not clear but in spoken form they serve to tie together the clausal units of speech and help convey a meaning: "Well you know, there was this guy, and here we were talking about, you know, girls, and all that sort of thing . . . and here's what he says . . . "
Since conversation involves both a speaker and a listener, meanings are constructed cooperatively. A speaker does not say everything he or she wants to say in a single burst. Information is added a little at a time, often by repeating what has been said before and then adding to it. Written discourse is planned, tightly organized, and generally the product of a single person. Spoken discourse is not preplanned, but is produced in ongoing time through mutual cooperation. Consequently, it presents meaning in a very different way from written discourse. Topics are developed gradually, and the conventions for topic development and topic shift are distinctive to the spoken register. Listeners must use clues like "talking about that, "reminds you of," "by the way," and "as far as that goes" to identify directions in topic development.
Conversation is interactive. The listener's presence is indicated by gestures, movement, gaze, and facial expressions. Both speaker and listener send a variety of verbal and nonverbal signals back and forth indicating attention, interest, understanding, or the lack of it.