When we watch celebrities, politicians, or business leaders speak on television or in public, they seem so at ease that we may wonder: are great speakers made, or are they just born that way? While it is true that some individuals are definitely born with this gift, the overwhelming majority of effective speakers have trained themselves to be so. Either they have received training or they have delivered so many speeches that over time they’ve learned what works for them. So what is the true secret to effective public speaking? Keep in mind the following 5 P’s of Public speaking:
1. Perception: Stop trying to be a great “public” speaker, just be yourself.
People want to listen to someone who is interesting, relaxed, and comfortable. In the routine conversations, we have no problem being ourselves. Yet too often, when we stand up to give a speech, something changes. We focus on the “public” at the expense of the “speaking.” To become an effective public speaker, you must do just the opposite: focus on the speaking and let go of the “public.” Think of it as a conversation between you and the audience. If you can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people, you can give a great speech. Whether your audience consists of two people or two thousand, be yourself; talk directly to people and make a connection with them.
2. Perfection: When you make a mistake, no one cares but you.
Even the most accomplished public speaker will make a mistake at some point. Just keep in mind that you’ll notice more than anyone in your audience. The most important thing a speaker can do after making a mistake is to keep going. Don’t stop and—unless the mistake was truly earth shattering—never apologize to the audience for a minor slip. Unless they are reading the speech during your delivery, the audience won’t know if you left out a word, said the wrong name, or skipped a page. Because “to err is human,” a mistake can actually work for you, because it allows you to connect with your audience. People don’t want to hear from someone who is “perfect;” they will relate much more easily to someone who is real.
3. Persona: Importance of your Personality
It is important that you consider how you want your audience to perceive you so that you can develop yourself accordingly. It is impossible to make interesting speakers out of uninteresting people. Only people with interesting personality make good speakers. For this reason, personality is one factor we cannot overlook in the training of a person as a public speaker for his personality determines his speech. If we are to define personality, we may say that it is the sum total of all our physical, mental and emotional traits. Personality is not a matter of height, color, shape, etc., but a development of all the traits of an individual. Through speech, we express our individual personality, our total self.
4. Persuasion: Persuasion is all around you. You are likely trying to persuade someone or they are persuading you all of the time. Persuasion is convincing your target audience to move in a direction. There are three key modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos and logos. Ethos means credibility; pathos means empathy or emotion; and logos means logic. By performing these three elements competently, a speaker can enhance their persuasive power. The ‘need’ in persuasive speaking is essential to any persuasive speech.
5. Purpose of Delivery: Good speakers should be clear about their own purposes—is it to explain? to inform? to argue? to provoke? to move? to entertain? to display their abilities? to establish social connections? Often times speakers have more than one purpose, but clarity about purpose generally determines what will be said.
So, Gain confidence, enhance your credibility, and maximize your response with these 5 P’s.