The profession of public speaking is entwined with great social responsibility. As a public speaker, you are transmitting certain ideas into the brains of a group of individuals. Therefore you have to be reliable. This is here that the relevance of ethics creeps into the field of public speaking. In fact, in the face of so many manipulations of facts and statistics in the recent times, ethics is being considered as one of the most crucial aspects of public speaking.
It is confusing to differentiate between what is ethical and what is non-ethical. One thing that appears to be ethical to a group of people may seem grossly unethical to a second group with different set of interests. In general, a study concerning ethics in public speaking helps us to determine what is fair and what is unfair in public speaking. It tries to point out the unjust practices taken up by some of the speakers, also abhors the inclusion of anything in the speeches that are universally regarded as immoral and as a whole it attempts to provide a guideline as to what is right and what is wrong.
Public speaking has immense strength; it has the power of mobilizing masses as we can find many instances in history. At the same time, there are times when as a public speaker you often have to open up unpleasant topics. A strong ethical background helps you to emerge as a winner even in these critical situations, because people relies you and know that you talk about what you are convinced of. As for example what you do when you have to break the unfortunate news before your employee that the company is going to hand pink slips to a considerable number of employees.
If you are reputed as being a speaker who strongly goes by ethics, you will be trusted and your statement will be considered with more patience and finally it will be accepted by most of the members of the audience. A speaker who imbibes the ethical values is respected for being consistent in their speech and practice and they are believed to have concern in their hearts for the people at the other side. So he is usually not frowned upon for any of his unpleasant decisions and at least his subordinates try to see logic in his decision. On the other hand, the speakers who do not show respect for ethics are generally not respected themselves also and particularly in the critical situations the audience refuses outright to see points in their proclamation.
There are several ways of maintaining ethics in your speech. First of all you should be careful about the information given in your speech. The audience has spared time to attend your speech means they expect to get some authentic information from you. If you do not come well prepared with accurate information it will discount on your credibility and people will not inclined to trust you as a speaker.
You should be original in your presentation, plagiarism or upholding others work as your own creation is strictly against the law of ethics.
Never try to preach anything through your speech that you do not believe. The lack of spontaneity will open up the void. Always remember as a public speaker you have certain responsibility and that is not to feed the public anything you personally do not have trust or respect. If you go to advocate for something forcefully, it will be evident youre your body language to the audience that you are not at all comfortable with the subject. Always let the world know the truththis is what the protocol of ethics demand from a public speaker.
Never try to manipulate data or statistics or try to give a wrong or one sided picture of anything. This way you will betray the trust of your audience.
As a public speaker, you should be respectful of your audience. Do homework on the type of your audience and come prepared so that your speech does not include any insensitive mention of any particular religious, ethnic or racial group.
However, from an ethical point of view, the audience also has some obligation towards the speaker. It is the duty of the audience to be attentive and abide by the basic manners of public assembly. As a listener, you should come with an open mind to the expressions or ideas that may strongly differ from yours. Then, do not judge a speaker too early; give him sufficient time to establish his point.