Public Speaking is one of the oldest forms of mass communication known to mankind. Since ancient times, it is considered as an effective way to address people. It can motivate and convey suggestive ideas. History proves that public speaking has the ability to start wars, end tyrannies, topple ideologies, create hope, and cease conflicts.
World leaders know the value of public speaking and some had developed this to an absolute art form. History has produced a lot of great public speakers. These people made use of their ability in public speaking to stir emotions and inspire people to act.
Abraham Lincoln's oratory skills helped end oppression and paved the way for race equality. Adolf Hitler, used public speaking to instill an ideology that resulted in global conflict which in turn, shaped our world today. In more recent times, US president Barack Obama, used his speech to deliver a message of hope to his dispirited countrymen.
Public Speaking, as the chronicles have shown, is a double-edged sword and it is an effective tool to communicate a message in an effective, thought-provoking and somewhat magical manner.
As of today, this is a thriving business. Brilliant speakers are paid well because we recognize their ability to move and influence people. Public speaking is not exclusive for the political arena anymore.
Now, if you want to learn the art of speaking in public, there are three crucial things that you must learn. These are staple principles of an effective public speaker.
Clarity of the message
You speak because you want to put across a point. Public Speaking is a communication process. And if you want to communicate effectively, you got to have clarity in your message.
It is even more important to have clarity when speaking in front of the crowd. You should not send mixed messages that may confuse your audience. Make your message clear and with maximum conviction. Your voice must be loudly audible and use emphasis during certain parts of your speech to get your message across and get your audience to listen and to think. You want to reach past people's ears and straight through to their minds and hearts.
Connection with the audience
An effective public speaker makes the audience feel that he is one of them. You have to let people know that you empathize with their current circumstance. The best way to do this is through research and to actually, and truly understand them but that will not be case all of the time. Sometimes, you have got to learn how to fake it.
Eye contact, body language, and facial expression are crucial. Timing is also critical. You must recognize that great public speakers are great actors too.
Practice makes perfect
Public speaking is a skill. And any skill should be practiced to the point of perfection. If you think that history's great speakers didn't practice in front of the mirror, think again. It is documented that Caesar, Hitler, and Lincoln are great believers of practicing speeches.