THE CATALYST: The Art of Public Speaking

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By Felix Concepcion Veroya

“Did you know that you are the catalyst of change the world needs? Yes, you heard it right. You are the change that you want to see in this world.”

This was my opener when I joined our organization’s public speaking contest and guess what? I won the 1st runner-up place. I am not a competing public speaker, but I have done several public speeches and training to date.

Joining this competition made me realized that it is not an easy feat to speak in public. That five (5) minute speech was written, rehearsed, and prepared for about five (5) days. Really, preparation is the key. Now with that realization, I want to share with you my lessons learned about how to be #significantlybetter in the art of public speaking.

  1. Becoming a skilled public speaker is a matter of practice, and a stage fright can be conquered. I believe that all those individuals who did speak in public had butterflies in their stomach before, during and even after the speech. I learned that this can be reduced with an increase in our time and effort to prepare for the actual speech. Cliché as it may sound, 99% preparation and 1% perspiration.
  2. Use emphasis to vanquish monotony. No one wants to listen to a public speaker who never tried to vary his tone. In it like a listening to a musician playing at one key. You can vanquish monotony by changing pitch, changing your pace – either making it slower or faster on parts you want to emphasize, and pausing.
  3. An ability to arouse emotion in your listeners is the fulcrum of public speaking. If you are into your speech, you can easily convey emotion and that will help you connect with your listeners. Most of the time, I start with stories to capture my audience’s empathy before I give them what I want to share with them through my piece.
  4. Gestures can be learned, but they must spring from the real feeling. You might find extra gestures annoying when you are listening to someone. Too much of anything is not a good prescription. Gestures can be helpful if used in moderation and in as much as natural as possible.
  5. A good voice requires good health. I always ensure to get a good rest and avoid from anything that can affect my voice whenever I have talks or speeches to deliver the next day. Not only caring for your voice matters but also how we use it to deliver our message. Our voice gives power to our speeches, so we need to take care of it and use it wisely.
  6. Arrange your audience to increase the influence of your speech. You need to set the mood and tone of the moment so you can capture your audience. Think of vivid ways that you can translate to words and make your audience feel that they are into it – a place, a scenario, or a feeling. Once you deliver the main parts of your speech, they are into it, and they can be more engaged and participative thus resulting to influencing them with the message of your speech.
  7. Strengthen your power of argumentation by testing your arguments. Use evidence, reasoning, and inferences to solidify your point or arguments in your talk.
  8. Use the imagination to your public speaking advantage. Imagery is the backbone of poetry. Create a mental eye with your audience and run through your speech. Imagine what you will say, how you will say it, and which gestures you may use. If you vividly create it in your mind, then there is too little probability that you forget what you want to say.

Hope these lessons learned can help you start your journey of becoming a public speaker not just for the sake of joining competitions but using your voice to influence people to create impact and positive change to the world.

Let’s continue to be #significantlybetter, together.

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