‘Allow your passion to become the purpose of life, and it will one day become your profession’. Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist, lecturer and philosopher, once quoted, “Speech is power, speech is to influence, to convert, to compel”. The statement is undoubtedly enough to withdraw reader’s attention and affinity for the art, skill and hobby of public speaking. Public speaking is the act of communicating information verbally to a live audience. Speaking in front of a huge crowd, with hundreds of eyes staring at you without any single thought or distraction, is not a piece of cupcake for many. It requires hefty doses of confidence and courage. Public speaking forms an inseparable part of lives of many people, especially students, starting primarily from a very young age, that is, childhood, to becoming the young adults and even in laying a strong professional foundation. 

Speaking in public is a skill that one develops slowly and gradually in our life years. Try recalling your first day in school, the teacher asking you for an introduction and a speech on ‘Myself’ in front of your new classmates. This is probably the ‘first’ time when a child faces the audience.  The first stepping stones for gaining encouragement, confidence and courage for speaking publicly begin from reciting poems and stories in front of relatives, in classroom activities, giving speeches on different topics in the school assemblies, college fests, organized events, prestigious moments etc. Such memories compose the most important and memorable episodes of our lives. Public speaking doesn’t only include speaking your point in one go, in front of the audience, but rather it should be conducted more in an appealing fashion, making it interesting, interactive plus knowledgeable. For beginners, who want to master in the art of communicating publically, it is mandatory to first properly organize the contents of your speech, practice effectively, possibly in front of a mirror or some close relatives. Cope with nervousness and anxiety that you might face while addressing a huge audience. Gather courage and don’t let these little but important things effect your performance. 

Here are some points you should keep in mind before speaking in public.

  1. Be ‘Yourself’. 
  2. Try to connect with the audience. Use the power of eye contact. Be more interactive, engage with the audience by asking questions in-between. Have enough evidence to support the message and content of your speech. Provide some fun and shocking facts to support your statement.
  3. Don’t be nervous and try to stay calm. Be confident. Cope with your nerves .Pay attention to your body language, posture and presentation skills.
  4. No one is perfect, so even if you mispronounced a word or said something that made the audience laugh, do not lose hope. Don’t worry and lose confidence, rather embrace the humorous comments and use them beneficially to explain your point. It’s important to go with the flow and end your speech in a more prominent and eye catching manner.
  5. Do not try to memorize the contents of your speech and speak word-to-word. Try to be more innovative by introducing some audios and visuals to keep the audiences strongly bounded to your content.
  6. Plato once said, ‘Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men’. Using quotations by some prominent people of the era, good thoughts, proverbs, asking rhetorical questions can also impressively, deepen the impact of your speech.

With better skills in public speaking, you can proudly secure your dream jobs and follow your career paths like becoming a news anchor, lawyer, motivational speaker, politician, teacher, spokesperson, speech writer, sales representative, manager, guidance counselor, market research analysts, public relations specialist, human resource manager, professor, event planner, customer services specialist, advertising sales representative, on-air consultant, professor of speech and communication, announcer, key note speaker, coach, reporter and the list is endless. If speaking publicly is your ‘hobby’ and ‘passion’ that it can surely provide you wings to meet your future endeavors and goals in life.  

Many online and offline courses are available which train people to master their skills in public speaking and responses which are important in a wide variety of professional contexts. Some of these courses and programmes include:

  1. Dynamic Speaking Certification by University of       Washington(Coursera)
  2. Public Speaking Courses Online(Udemy)
  3. Free Public Speaking Classes Online(Skill Share)
  4. Free Public Speaking Courses and Training (LinkedIn Learning)
  5. Free Public Speaking Classes(Alison)
  6. 6.How to Communicate With Delicious Authenticity, Confidence and Charisma(Mindvalley)
  7. Improve English Communication Skills(Georgia Institute of Technology) 

Joining these or similar courses will help you a lot in chasing your dreams and further unfolding of job prospects in the field of public speaking. Other than these courses, there an endless number of books that will help you climb the stairs for becoming a successful speaker. Some of the recommended books include: ‘Talk like TED’ by Carmine Gallo, ‘Confessions of Public Speaker’ by Scott Berkun, ‘The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking’ by Dale Carnegie, ‘The Art of Public Speaking’ by Dale Carnegie, ‘A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking’ by Rob Stewart, ‘Give Your Speech, Change The World’ by Nick Morgan, ‘How to be brilliant at Public Speaking: Any Audience. Any Situation’ by Sarah Lloyd Hughes.  

Master’s degrees programs in public speaking are available for graduates which are supremely designed to offer instruction on interpersonal speech and public speaking techniques, showing how communication contributes to many industries today. Students in these programs complete thesis projects, independent researches and seminars. Students enrolled in these programs study advertising, marketing, persuasion techniques, speech organization, effective uses of supporting materials, public speaking theory, basic principles of communication and languages and effective delivery techniques. 

Many universities around the globe provide the aspirants with great public speaking courses like Indian Academy of Public Speaking (India), Stanford University (California), Northwestern University (Illinois), University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California), New York University (NYU) Tisch School of Arts, Brown University (Rhode Island), Harvard University (Massachusetts).

Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Tony Robbins, Narendra Modi, Robin Sharma, Mahatma Gandhi, Eric Thomas etc. surely compose the list of greatest speakers the world had and still has now. These great speakers made sure that everyone listens to their voice while they speak. Hence, the scope for career paths in public speaking is massive and is even broadening day-by-day, so take a step forward and let your voice become a promise for the brighter future of your nation and raise the bar of your nation in the world.

By KAMAKSHI VERMA, New Delhi

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