Outshine the Art of ‘Public Speaking / Presentations’
| Brig. (Dr) Sunil Kumar Moudgil (Retd) - 01 Feb 2020

Public speaking is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. Public speaking is commonly understood as formal, face-to-face speaking of a single person to a group of listeners. Public speaking may have different purposes such as to inform, to persuade, to entertain etc. Currently, new methods continue to transform the art of public speaking through newly available technology such as videoconferencing, multimedia presentations, and other nontraditional forms. As is said that Great speakers aren’t born, they are trained. So, let’s train ourselves by understanding how to bring public speaking/presentations engaging and persuasive.
 Some of the common mistakes’ speakers / presenters make are as under and must be avoided: -
• Lack of preparation  
• Reaching late at the venue and making excuses
• Not making efforts of knowing the audience
• No relationship building with the audience
•  Using visual aids ineffectively
•  Covering too much of material in a limited time
•  Creating inappropriate humor
•  Use of monotone
•  Offering weak evidence to prove the point
•  Negative body language
 In every facet of life including ‘Public Speaking’, it’s true that ‘If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail’. So, lets follow the structure given below to prepare and make an impactful presentation or public speaking: -
• Audience Analysis. Detailed homework is essential to ensure to speak to the audience correctly. Questions like Who? What? When? Where? be answered to carry out audience and venue analysis. Effort must be made to find out audience expectations, concerns and knowledge level to pitch the topic appropriately. 
• Set the Objective. The objective of the talk/presentation need to be such that it is relevant, engaging, motivating and persuasive. 
• Collect Persuasive Inputs. Adequate research work must be done to collect information and to prove your point/objective.
• Rule of Three. In the beginning, tell them what you are going to tell. Then tell them. In the end, to recap, tell them what you have told. 
• Creating a Compelling Sequence. Before agenda is spelled out, it is always a great idea to start with attention grabbing opening. It could be a relevant quote or a story or an energizer. 
• Golden Rules. In any presentation/public speaking interaction, one must use a couple of ideas as given below to make the topic interesting and engaging: - 
A. Story Telling. Master the art of story telling, a story with a message brings life to public speaking. Have 10-12 stories in your kitty. Use relevant ones as and when opportunity arises. 
B. Fables. Short Stories with a message brings bigger impact. 
C. Quotes. Have 10-12 motivating & engaging quotes in your kitty and make use of a relevant one on opportunity. (e.g. Good is the enemy of great, and that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. Quote by Jim Collins from his book ‘Good to Great’).
D. Let Others’ Speak for You. Instead of appreciating your own good work, let it be told what your boss or mentors or someone else talk about you. It makes better impact. 
E. In Power Point Presentations. Use Video Clips of 3-4 minutes duration, once every 2 Hours. Use them as case studies. Videos are more engaging than verbal communication. 
F. Ask Questions/ Hand Up Feedback. This is how the interaction can be created 2-ways. Audience feel good when they are given a chance to speak and share their views. 
G. Inviting a volunteer. Invite volunteer to take a stage with you to demonstrate/role play to prove your point. 
H. Audience Participation Exercises. 
I. Case Study References. 
J. Use Models / Concepts.
K. Recognize People/Their achievements. It is possible to identify deserving people during interaction with audience prior to presentation or during audience analysis. Requesting the audience to clap for them create positive energy. (e.g. someone can be a defense veteran or super senior citizen or an athlete of repute being part of the audience etc.).
l. Bring fascinating facts/ Statistics. 
 They are engaging and persuasive but must be relevant to the objective/topic. (e.g. Hippo milk is bright pink. An average man laughs 13 times a day. French fries did not originate in France). 
• The following actions create better engagement with audience both during presentation/public speaking: -
• Move around purposefully on the stage
• Stand still while making an important point
• Move towards the audience while emphasising important points
• Use pauses to create emphasis
• Speak at a moderate pace
• Speak a quicker presentation after lunch when people tend to get sleepy
• Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse. Remember it takes one hour of preparation to each minute of presentation time. Practice out loud. Practice against clock. Get yourself video graphed and see how you look when you speak. 
•  Dress as per demand of the occasion or follow the given dress code. 
•  Never forget to thank the audience for their time before you close. 
•  Review. Grade yourself after every presentation/public speaking event. Note down the areas for improvement. Work on them till you master the art of public speaking/power point presentation.
If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives! 

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