Excellent Public Speaking Tips

Tips to public speaking based on studies on social psychology. What is proven to really work in convincing others.

Public speaking is the number one fear ranking above death in many psychology polls. People are gripped by fear and phobic when it comes to public speaking. Even trained public speakers still feel butterflies in their stomach when getting ready to present a public speech. The famous Greek orator Demosthenes actually put pebbles in his mouth to help him with his speeches to alter the sound quality. Whether public speaking presentations inspire a crowd or instill fear in an audience, many of the key techniques for convincing an audience remain the same. While there may be some argument in the field, and there may be variations on the theme, this article will focus on two key areas, and throw in some of the more classic thoughts. The two key areas deal with audience. Is your audience friendly to your ideas or hostile or of an opposite point of view. This is of vast importance for a speaker. Exploring these factors as well as others is a good starting point for a new public speaker, as well as an excellent refresher course for even veteran public speakers.

First and foremost one must consider whether your audience favors the topic you may be presenting. Do they agree with your point of view? In a debate will they support your points or would they oppose them. While we will look at ideas like credibility of a speaker, and the demographics of the age range, gender, and other aspects of population, we will focus here on the first basic. If your audience agrees with your point of view then it alright to focus or concentrate on the topic to the exclusion of opposing points of view. If your contention is the legalization of marijuana and you think that it is a good thing, because it could be taxed, has great possibilities for medical assistance, and does not have enough of a detrimental effect on motivation to merit being illegal, then that would probably be all you would have to say. If you are addressing Pot Farmers of America, then you obviously are addressing a hypothetical audience that is in your camp, on your side. Studies in social psychology have found that if you present your supporting points for your argument ot a group that is in favor of your main point then they will quickly support or buy into the other apects of your speech. They will listen with some detail and probably even be able to remember the supporting points. Why you may ask? Because it agrees with their preconceived notions, it agrees with the opinion they already have and therefore is appealing to them at the outset.

This is also a good reason to craft your speeches towards a specific audience and even IF it seems your topic does not tie into Protect the Rare Soon to Be Extinct Cockroach, then you had better tie your speech into that belief system somehow IF you can. This of course can go towards credibility, so on should not stretch your powers of persuasion too much. What is key here is, does your audience agree with your presentation, and if not you might be able to craft it to fit. In the final analysis though, you might have to approach it from another angle altogether, and that is the second major section of this article, convincing those who oppose your point of view.



When an audience is in opposition to your point of view, studies in social psychology have proven that it is of primary importance to address the oppositions arguments. If you just present your arguments or supporting points in favor of your topic, then you will lose your audience. They will shut down, turn off, tune out and others feel you are not a credible speaker. Primarily because they do not feel you are being intellectually honest. You are not addressing the real issues, the real arguments you are not basically addressing them. Therefore you must present your argument, then your main points, and then state the oppositions primary argument, then rip it to pieces. Discredit it. By doing this you address the opposition and give them something new to think about. They look at the weak spot in their position as well as the supportive information you have give them. You have planted the seed of doubt. You may have swayed them to your way of thinking. You might be a fine public speaker with excellent credibility, vocal tone, good body language, hand gestures, excellent research and material in the body of your speech, a powerful beginning, a rousing ending, good humor and a key joke. But if you fail to address the opposing point it will all have been for naught. If the argument is that the United States is a parallel model to the Roman Empire, with similar economic, social and political structures and you present that, but the audience doesn't agree, you have a problem. Some of the audience members may feel the United States has pulled out of an economic slump similar to that of the Roman Empire, where the middle class was being unduly taxed and it destroyed the finances of the Empire. The opposing point is that the United States will not repeat history, will not decline and fall. The speaker will have to address that issue even if it is not voiced, IF that is one of the strongest arguments against his or her thesis. It might be addressed by stating that economics are cyclical and fluid and that the United States might be experiencing unprecedented economic boom right now, but that eventually unless are changed in a more permanent mode, depression will follow, or at least the continued erosion of the middle class. If you as a speaker feel the opposition might have several strong points address several of them being sure to be balanced but to plant the seed of doubt at the very least, and try to undermine the foundation of the opposing viewpoint. This allows you the balanced view of being fair and educated in the eyes of your audience.

While there is a vast amount of material on public speaking studies do not lie. Credibility of the speaker is important. Knowing the age of the group, their political affiliation, their religion, their gender and more are all important. Having a commanding presence, charisma, a strong voice, excellent posture and so many other tricks of the trade are polish upon a gem in the rough. However the two key secrets of public speaking success are found in the field of social psychology and are reflected above. Know thy audience. Are they most likely to be in favor of what your present or oppose it. Is it a mixed audience? If so be prepared to address the opposition. With these two keys you map out victory in your presentations. All the rest is really just window dressing.

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