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Essential Qualities of a Good Public Speaker

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Self Improvement


We are all aware of the importance of public speaking in our professional as well as personal and social life. Often we mistakenly equate Public speaking with some kind of performance. But it is altogether a wrong orientation; public speaking is all about sharing your mind with a group of individuals. The success of a public speaker lies in his ability to communicate his point of view with the members of the audience. You often find instances where the speaker has finished his speech amidst a standing ovation and the audience being enthralled even long after the seminar is over. This is because, the speaker was able to extend his passion in the minds of the people who listened to his speech. And this is the essence of public speaking: get the audience agree with what you have tried to accomplish and make them think about it over and over again.

However, not all of us are equally gifted so far as speaking in public is concerned. Some speakers are better than the other in getting across their messages, while the others are not that convincing in their oral communication. But according to experts we all can acquire the qualities of a good public speaker with learning and practice. But before that we have to know what essential qualities churn out an outstanding public speaker.

You should know your subject well. If you are going to establish certain point, you should be convinced of its efficacy first. If you do not believe in what you are trying to accomplish, your arguments will not be strong enough to make other convinced. Simply you cannot touch the heart of the others if your statements are not substantial and that will be your failure as a public speaker. That means you have to be logical and affirmative in your delivery and for that you have to have belief in whatever you are saying.

You should have a mastery over language. This does not mean you have to be a PhD in English literature. This simply implies that you should be skillful enough to use the words properly to create an impact with your speech. Think of the rhetoric of the world leaders, how they used the word power to ignite passion in the minds of the people and mobilize them for great causes. You should be intelligent enough to customize the type of the language for specific audience. As for example if you are speaking before an audience comprising mainly of elderly ladies on some inspirational topic, maintain a note that is overtly emotional.  On the other hand while you are speaking on the same topic before an audience comprising male professionals, manipulate your words to create an extremely formal orientation.

Public speaking is often viewed as a conduit of ideas. As such an essential quality of a public speaker is to find out topics that interest the audience and also benefit them. In fact, professional speakers are hired by the organizations and institutions to deliver speech in the seminars. A professional speaker has to create unique and innovative topics out of a broad subject like business management. An excellent speaker is one who invents topics that reflects on those aspects of the subject that have direct connection with the audience. As for example human resource departments of many companies organize seminars on personal development. While speaking for the employees of any IT company, you can make your speech on the theme of the value of keeping good health for being successful in career. You can include the points like stress management, value of regular exercise and so on in the body of the speech and discover how the young professionals, stuck by the stress of a high profile career, neglecting their health for a prolonged period of time  find interest in your speech. On the other hand, while in a high school, do not open a topic on health, because the youngsters in this age group are naturally healthy, they will not find interest in this topic.  Instead if you direct your discussion in the direction of concentration building, they will listen to you attentively. Thus you have to be tricky enough to find out interesting topic for specific type of audience.

Then an excellent public speaker has a good sense of the use inflection as a tool to grab the attention of the audience. A flat presentation becomes monotonous and makes the audience drift away from the topic. On the other hand, the use of inflection at certain intervals will keep them attentive all through the session.

As a public speaker you should be extremely knowledgeable and your speech should be informative and should contribute to the audiences knowledge bank. Maintain humor in your language and keep formal but not stern, because it makes you unapproachable and in that case your audience would not connect to you. As a speaker you should also maintain a confident and energetic body language; it adds to the speakers credibility.

Finally, there is nothing like a perfect speaker. The skill of public speaking is something that improves with a lot of experience.