Dear Students of II B.A. English,
Make use of the material for Public Speaking Skills (SBEC). Due to technical problems I am not able to send as attachment.
Kindly Make use of it.
All the best.
Make use of the material for Public Speaking Skills (SBEC). Due to technical problems I am not able to send as attachment.
Kindly Make use of it.
All the best.
Organisation of Speech
In the case of written material one can go back for clarification or for better understanding but in the case of a speech this is not possible. It is, therefore, imperative to plan and organize one’s speech.
Planning a speech
When you have to make a speech, first determine how you are going to handle the three fundamental parts of a speech, namely, introduction, body and conclusion. You will find that when you do this, the ideas fall into place and follow each other logically. This mode of address will help you in five ways. One, it will enable you to develop a complete argument and establish clear relationships among your ideas. Two, you will be able to discuss your subject within a limited time. Three, your audience will get a good grip of the subject as it moves from one point to the other according to a pre-determined plan. Four, proper planning will ensure that the audience learn what you think to be important because you will be able to emphasize the most significant ideas. Five, the most important concepts of your speech will automatically register with the audience since you would have already highlighted them.
Setting the main body
Later in this chapter we have specifically discussed how to begin and end your speech. Let us first talk about the body of the speech which is the longest and most important part of your presentation. A speech of an hour or so would have usually four or five main points. You need to decide carefully in what order you are going to present them. A lot will depend on this decision because when you unfold your ideas, these points will serve as pigs on which you will hang your statements. The pattern of organization you choose will determine the unity, clarity and coherence of your speech. The most effective pattern would depend on three factors; topic purpose and audience. There are several patterns of organizing the points of the main body. Let us look at some of them.
i. Chronological Pattern
This pattern is specially useful for informative speeches. In it you have to follow a time sequence and organize your points around the major time segment or describe the sequence of events, stages in a process and steps in doing something. For example, in a speech on the concept of drama in English literature you may start with Aristotle, move on to Shakespeare, and finally, end with the views of modern dramatists such as Shaw and Eliot.
ii. Directional Pattern
In this kind of organization, the points proceed in a certain direction in terms of approach to the main topic. You may proceed from top to bottom, front to back, left to right, in to out, north to south or follow some other route. This pattern, too, is often used in informative speeches. For example if you have to discuss the structural design of a temple, you may first describe its façade, and then proceed to describe the design of entrance passage, inner walls and columns, sanctum sanctorum and lastly, the idol of the presiding deity.
iii. Logical Pattern
Here you organize your points so as to show a cause-effect relationship. You may analyze the existing conditions and then you may tell how it arose, why it is so and what we can do about it. Or depending on the topic, you may first discuss the causes and then deal with the effects. Alternatively, you may first describe the effects and then trace the causes. This type of arrangement can be used both for informative and persuasive speeches. For example, if you have to speak on the menace of deforestation, you may start with the effects such as erosion of soil, decrease in rainfall, and change in overall environmental conditions and them go on to discuss the measures to remedy the situation.
iv. Problem-solution pattern
This pattern has two major parts: the first underlines the existence and seriousness of the problem and the second offers a practical solution. This pattern is most appropriate in persuasive speeches. While dealing with the first part, try to make the audience realize the possible harmful effects and prove that it would grow, if not solved promptly. In the solution that you offer, you should be able to convince your listeners that the solution suggested by you is the best and if implemented, it would eliminate or at least minimize the problem. For example, if you have to speak on the problem of absenteeism in a factory, you should be able to show to the workers how the loss of manhours affects productivity and ultimately reduces their bonus.
v. Topical pattern
The topic here is divided into various sub-topics each of which becomes a main point in the speech. This pattern is applicable to almost any subject and to any subject and to any kind of speech. It is, therefore, most commonly used organizational pattern. When following this pattern you can discuss various aspects of a topic such as physical, mental and moral; social, economic and political; local, regional and national; theoretical and practical, … The topic can also be discussed from different points of view: government and public; employers and employees; students and teachers, … For example, if you have to speak on the privatization of public undertakings, you can divide your speech into three main parts: the government’s decision and factors responsible for it; the views of the public in general and shareholders in particular; and the reaction of the business community. Each of these parts can be further subdivided according to the purpose of your speech and the composition of the audience.
vi. Psychological pattern
Closely related to the above arrangement is the psychological order. The arrangement of the points here is made according to the way the audience is likely to react to them. For example if you have to face a rather hostile audience, start with the point they are most likely to accept. If you face listeners who are indifferent, begin with the most striking or dramatic aspect of the topic you are going to speak on. Similarly, end your speech with its most effective aspect – the aspect that will positively affect the listeners most. For example, if you have to address clerical staff of your organization, who are agitated over the management’s decision to computerize routine office work, you may first tell them that none would be retrenched. And then proceed to show the convenience and the efficiency that the computerization would bring, removing drudgery from routine work.
Developing the main points
Whatever be the organizational pattern, it will definitely have a few main points, say, four or five. A main point is a unit of thought, a constituent of the meaning structure manifested in your speech which, like any other composition, is a verbal structure. These units constitute the central features of your speech. Let us now discuss how to select and develop your main points. One way is to convert a point into a topic statement which is essentially a summary that tells the audience what the speech is all about. For example, if you have to speak on non-conventional sources of energy, you may make a statement such as the following: “As you are aware, we have been exhausting conventional sources of energy at an alarming rate. This has led to the quest for sources which have not been tapped yet. What I propose to do is to let you know the latest developments that have taken place in the discovery of new sources and the technology that has been devised to utilize the energy obtained from these sources. I would also indicate the extent of commercial exploitation that has already been achieved and look at the future trends”. The above statement would make the listener aware of what is to come. He will have no doubt about the contents or direction of your speech. An analysis of the above statement reveals three main points – the inadequacy of conventional resources, the search for new sources of energy and the development of appropriate technology and commercial exploitation. However, it would not be possible to arrive at the main points so easily because as you study the topic you might gather surfeit information. If you find that you have divided the topic into too many points, condense them into a few categories.
Very often you will have to include in your speech your value judgement about the topic. The value judgement is usually made in the form of a thesis statement which explains the speaker’s attitude and point of view towards the topic. As you speak and unfold your ideas, keep the thesis in mind. Continuing with the example we have just discussed, you may like in your speech to take the stand that the exhaustion of conventional sources of energy is not so alarming as it appears at present. You may add that the exploitation of non-conventional sources has a bright future, ending your speech on an optimistic note. Another speaker could paint a dark picture by emphasizing the failure or slow progress that has been made for obtaining energy from new sources, ending his speech on a pessimistic note.
A good speech, apart from being formulated well and having an effective strategy to back up its main argument, needs strong supporting materials. We will now focus on how to support and explain ideas.
Definition is most probably the best method of initiating idea development. By its very nature it indicates the limits of a concept or term. There are four ways of defining: analytical, comparative, descriptive and negative. An analytical definition consists of two parts. The first indicates the genus or the general class in which the referent of the term falls and the second indicates the differential or the particular characteristics which differentiate the referent from the other members of the class. For example, in the definition “Man is a social animal: the referent of the word ‘animal’ is the genus and the word ‘social’ is the differentiate. In a comparative definition you have to show how a broad term changes its meaning in different contexts or you have to compare its meaning with that of closely related terms. For example, the term ‘democracy’ evokes different referents in countries like Russia, the USA, Pakistan and Kuwait. The descriptive method of definition is perhaps most common. Every unit of thought refers to a particular entity which consists of certain parts which have common features. An example is the well known definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Sometimes a term is defined by first stating what it does not mean. This is the negative method of defining. For example, in defining ‘scientific method’ you may start by saying: “Scientific method does not depend wholly on intuition. It is also not dependent solely upon reason, nor it is entirely empirical”.
The example is a very commonly used device for support. It is, in fact, a clarification used to illustrate a previous assertion. It brings life to a speech and leads to better understanding, sometimes a simple reference to a specific instance can accomplish this test. There would, however, be occasions when you have to provide several instances or give an elaborate explanation of the support you select for strengthening your speech. There are two types of examples generally used by the speaker. One is what we call real examples. These are factual illustrations. Sometimes, you may borrow elements from several instances and combine them into one detailed by hypothetical example. Such an example, though not real, is realistic containing as it does elements from factual illustrations. In your speech use examples freely and extensively. If they are chosen properly, they would hold the attention of the audience throughout your speech.
An analogy is used to prove a point, to clarify an idea or to establish a conclusion. In it a comparison is made between items of similar substance or characteristics. It is specially useful in providing insights into something unknown by comparing it to something known. For example, the discoverer of blood circulation offered explanation in terms of what was known about water-way systems, using terms such as pumps and arteries. Even today we use these terms to describe the circulation of blood in human body.
The statements that one uses to support one’s ideas are called testimony. The statements may be in the form of a paraphrase of the language used by another person or in the form of a quotation using the exact words used by somebody else to express his ideas. When you quote, clearly indicate the beginning and the end of the quoted material by saying ‘quote’ and ‘unquote’ respectively. Testimony is frequently used to prove clarify or to reinforce the assertions made by the speaker. They are four types of testimony: expert testimony prestige testimony, peer testimony and lay testimony.
Very often you will probably use expert testimony to support your ideas. As the name indicates, this kind of testimony is from recognized authorities in their fields. Both by training and experience such persons have attained reputation for their views and respect for asserting the truth. Citing their views lends weight and credibility to your speech for it shows that there are other knowledgeable people who hold similar views on the topic. This types of testimony is specially useful when the topic is controversial. Often the listeners can be persuaded to accept your point of view if you support it with statements by some person of high or respected status. This type of testimony is called prestige testimony. When we cite the opinions of persons like ourselves, ordinary citizens and not prominent figures, we use what is called peer testimony. Usually in this kind of testimony we do not quote, only paraphrase. As you know, paraphrasing is better than direct quotation in three situations: one, when the quotation is obscure and cumbersome; two, when it is long; and three, when the opinion is that of a member of our peer group Lay testimony is most useful when expressed through statistics. For example, if you state that 70 per cent employees of your company are apprehensive about the new bonus scheme announced by the management, you would be using lay testimony.
Statistics when used properly, is an effective way to clarify and support ideas. It is an accumulation of similar instances or examples expressed in numerical form. A support from this kind of testimony is bound to enrich your speech. However, an overuse would bore the listeners for no one likes to listen to a continuous citation of numbers. It is better to convert statistics into graphic aids such as graph, chart, diagram, etc. and present them by means of an overhead projector.
Beginning and ending the speech
The main function of the introduction is to prepare your audience for what you are going to tell them. The introduction sets the stage for your speech and motivates the listeners to look forward with interest to what is to follow. A good start also generates self confidence in the speaker and acts as an excellent stimulator.
Let us now look in some detail what an introduction does.
i. Besides introducing the topic it should help you establish rapport with the audience. There are three ways of doing so humour specially directed at yourself; indicating areas of common interest between you and the audience; and showing concern for the audience’s welfare or interest in the topic. A speaker started his after-dinner speech by saying, “there is only one thing that is better than delivering an after-dinner speech and that is not to deliver one”. He was cheered and was thus able to instantly gain the attention of the audience.
ii. An audience wishes to know why they should accept and believe what you are going to tell them. You have, therefore, to help them perceive you as qualified to speak on the given topic. This will establish your credibility in their eyes and what you say will have greater impact upon them.
iii. In the process of using attention getting devices you should not forget to state clearly the topic of your speech. You should specify the area you propose to cover.
iv. It is helpful to preview the body of a speech. Even if you do not want to reveal your central idea in the beginning, do not keep the listeners guessing about the main points you are going to deal with. If you preview the main body, the audience will pay greater attention when you get to the heart of your speech.
v. Another device often used by speakers is the personalization of the topic. This makes the audience feel that the topic is important to them. If order to achieve this end you should be able to show how the topic will affect or influence them. However, it may not be possible to personalize every topic.
vi. The first impression is vital and it is through an introduction that you can make a favourable impression. If you succeed in doing so, the chances are that you will be heard with greater attention.
vii. A good introduction is a vehicle to lead the audience into the main body of your speech. This transition should be as smooth as possible. However, you must at the right time alert the audience that you are moving to the central theme.
There are a number of ways to involve the audience in your topic. Let us now look at these
· Making a surprising, arresting or intriguing statement. For example, a speech on “The threat of nuclear war” could begin thus: “World War III – three plain words nd yet they sound very dreadful, don’t they?”
· Arousing the curiosity of the audience. For example, a speech on the causes of heart failure may begin thus: “Do you know by the time I finish speaking, five thousand persons would have died or heart failure?”
· Quoting an eminent person or a well-known statement. For example, in a talk on speaking successfully you may start as follows: “When asked about the secret of his success, a famous speaker said, ‘Have something to say, say it, and then say what you said’”. A humourous quotation can exercise a double impact. In a speech on the future of biotechnology, a professor quoted Mark Twain: “Predictions are very difficult to make – especially when they deal with the future”.
· Telling a story or an anecdote. For example, in a speech on ‘Unity is strength’ you may start with the widely known story thus: “A farmer had four sons who used to quarrel quite often. Then one day he called them and gave each a piece of thin string asking them to break. They did it easily…”
· Paying a special compliment to the audience. Example: “you are the best looking group of listeners that I have come across during my recent tour”.
“Great is the art of beginning”, said Longfellow, “but greater is the art of ending”. A good speech can be spoiled by a long winded, or an antagonistic conclusion. On it depends your final impression on the mind of the listeners. You should, therefore, pay as much attention to the conclusion of your speech as to the introduction. A good conclusion performs two major functions. First, it signals the end of the speech and second, it reinforces the central idea. There are several ways to indicate that you have reached the end. You may, for example, given verbal clues such as “Let me end by saying”, “Before conclude”, “One last point”, “In conclusion”, “To sum up”, “To conclude”, … Another way to indicate that you are going to conclude your speech is by your manner of delivery. By your tone pacing, and intonation you can indicate that your speech has reached the climax, leaving no doubt that it is about to be over.
The second function of conclusion is to reinforce the central idea. The most common way to do this is to give a summary of the main points, resolving loose ends, if any. Another way is to end your speech is with a relevant quotation: If you do so, ensure that it is brief and captures the central idea. For example, a speech on “Alcohol – Thrills or Kills?” ended with the following Japanese proverb:
First the man takes a drink
Then the drink takes a drink
Then the drink takes the man
Instead of a quotation, you may devise your own dramatic statement to give your conclusion force and vitality. Still another way is to refer to introduction and to show that you have done what you promised in the beginning. In speeches where some action is expected, make a direct appeal to the audience in your conclusion.
Remember that your speech has to end smoothly, with a bang if necessary, but certainly not with a whimper. Let it not flicker and die. Work out the conclusion carefully and let it be as fresh and creative as possible.
Modes of Delivery
The success of speech to a large extent depends on how you delivery it. A good delivery is lucid and interestingly presents what a speaker wants to convey. Apart from the appropriate use of body language which we have discussed in Chap 4, effective delivery depends on a number of factors. First ensure that the delivery does not distract the audience. Instead, make sure it keeps the minds of the audience focused on the message. Obviously, therefore, if you speak in a monotone, the listeners would yawn and some of them may even doze off. Similarly, if you speak in stentorian tone, or dramatise your words and sentences beyond a limit, they may feel distracted and miss the message. Speech delivery is in fact an art which can be acquired with persistent and patient efforts. Try to imbibe in your delivery attributes such as directness of speech, earnestness of purpose, liveliness of presentation and an emphasis on the main points. These attributes when judiciously mixed with a certain degree of formality could make you a successful speaker.
There could be many questions which may agitate your mind when you are required to speak in public: “Do I speak with or without notes?” “Should I hide the notes cards from the audience when I speak?” “What should be the speed of my delivery?” “Where do I stand?” “Where should I look?” There are no ready-made answers to these questions. You cannot become an effective speaker by adhering strictly to a set of rules. There is nothing which can substitute experience. But don’t loose heart. How to use body language discussed in Chap 4 answers some of the above questions. Here we shall now proceed to describe basic modes of delivering a speech.
· Reading from a manuscript
· Speaking extemporaneously
· Speaking impromptu
· Speaking from memory
Reading from a manuscript
This mode of delivery is generally used in formal situations such as presenting a research paper at a seminar, giving an inaugural address at a function; or speaking on radio or television. In all these situations, there is a need for careful timing and exact phrasing. Since the speech is read word for word one should exercise great care in choosing one’s language. However, in a bid to attain linguistic dexterity, the speaker should not loose sight of the fact that a manuscript speech is written to be heard, not read. It should have an oral flavor and sound like a speech and not like an essay. Remember, that “a speech is not merely an essay standing on its hind legs”.
This mode of delivery requires a special kind of preparation because the speaker cannot afford the slightest improvisation. Further, reading from manuscript and intermittently looking up at the listeners is a difficult task. It requires repeated rehearsal, not only with regard to reading its language but also with the places where emphasis has to be put, and pauses are to be made. The speaker should become so familiar with the text that he can read entire sentences at a glance and maintain a steady eye contact with the audience.
If you prepare well, your words would come alive and sound vibrant and conversational instead of wooden and artificial. You would be able to talk to the audience and not at them.
Extemporaneous speaking is generally the most effective speaking. In it the speaker does not read from a written script but thinks as he speaks and speaks what he thinks. It requires careful preparation. The speaker should master the material be is going to present, prepare a working outline and a logical organization of his speech and decide on how he would begin and conclude his speech. In fact, he has almost everything ready except the specific word choices. Some speakers prefer to write out their speech first and then discard the written version. Writing does help in impressing on our minds the ideas that we are going to express. But then the written script should not be used as a crutch in this mode of delivery. The speaker should use only the outline and note cards and these too may be discarded when the speech is short.
The advantage of this mode is that it is the most direct. You can be precise and have an effective control over your ideas. You can transmit spontaneity and freshness and thus can secure greater interest in your speech. You will be free to establish proper eye contact, gesture naturally and remain in constant touch with the audience, which is essential for success. Another advantage of this mode is that you can be flexible and adapt your speech on the basis of feedback from the audience. You can adjust to unexpected situations relating to composition of audience, physical setting or time constraints.
Impromptu speaking is speaking without specific preparation. It is usually made on occasions when some one is unexpectedly called upon “to say a few words” or when he wants to respond to a previous speaker in a business meeting or a discussion group.
When you find yourself in such a situation, do not panic. Keep cool, organize your thoughts and limit yourself to a few remarks. Your basic general preparation of delivery that we have discussed earlier.
By its very nature a speech of this kind is unrehearsed. In many ways, however, it is effective because it is direct, spontaneous, natural and informal. Nobody would, of course, expect you to give a perfect speech of any length impromptu. The fear of poor orgnisation and unsupported assertions, and possible use of hackneyed words should not dismay you. If you walk calmly to the lectern, establish eye contact with the audience, pause for a while, the chances are that you would speak well. If you are responding to the points made by earlier speaker, first state the point you wish to comment upon, make your own observations supporting it with whatever material you can recall. Without realizing, you have been, in fact, making hundreds of impromptu speeches in day to day oral interactions.
Speaking from memory
In this mode of delivery the entire speech is written, memorized and then delivered from memory. It has some appeal to the novice speaker who feels more confident in delivering a speech through this mode. It has perhaps only one advantage in that it enables the speaker to say exactly what he wants to in the time allotted. It has a number of serious disadvantages. And we, therefore, strongly advise you not to use this mode. The first disadvantage is that memorizing a speech is very time consuming. Second, the speaker is deprived of flexibility required to adapt to his audience or to unexpected situations. Third, the delivery is likely to be dull and monotonous. Last, if perchance a sentence or a paragraph is forgotten, there may be a long pause or a dead stop, much to the embarrassment of the speaker and the amusement of the audience.
Despite these shortcomings if you wish to use this mode, by all means do so. But then you should memorise the speech so thoroughly that you are able to recall the words and sentences without strain and there is time for you to concentrate on communication with the audience.
The four modes of delivery that we have discussed above are not parallel alternatives. There are certain common points which must be borne in mind, whatever be the mode. Experience shows that the extemporaneous mode of delivery is most used in diverse speaking situations.