How do I learn public speaking?

A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step

– Lau Tzu

The journey starts with a single step but after a few steps people give up in public speaking because they start thinking,

  1. How many steps I have to walk?
  2. What are these steps?
  3. What are the milestones?
  4. Is there a road already available? Has somebody walked on it?
  5. How far I need to go?

Let’s start with a simple question before we start the public speaking journey. What is public speaking? – As per wiki the definition is ” Public speaking, also called oratory or oration, has traditionally meant the act of speaking face to face to a live audience. Today it includes any form of speaking (formally and informally) to an audience, including pre-recorded speech delivered over great distance by means of technology.” In summary Public speaking is an art to communicate with group of people offline or online. Public means 2 or more individuals, who can be anyone related or not related. Speaking we practice everyday with someone or the other – your friends, family, colleagues and so on… to whomsoever we speak, but what is this public speaking all about?. Lets learn this art from the basics step by step,

Another question to ponder over is whom in your life you consider as a good public speaker? This should be anyone in your circle whom you know. Lets take an example, I feel my mom is a good public speaker. But why do i consider her as a good one, its because of the following reasons –

  1. She speaks her heart out
  2. Its so simple people resonate to her thoughts, feelings, and emotions
  3. She asks lot of simple questions to the audience
  4. She speaks as if its speaking to people one on one and is full at ease when speaking – aka self assured what she is going to talk

Is this all for a good public speaker – probably yes as its working out for her. Now consider some well know personalities whom you have seen in news or somewhere else who has left a mark in your brain. For me I consider well known personality “Mr. Narendra Modi” as one of the best public speaker. But why do I consider him as one of the best, its because of the following reasons –

  1. Includes all the points above plus
  2. He moves & motivates the audience
  3. He adds humour in his speech
  4. He has a vocal variety (tone, speed & volume), perfect pauses, and lets audience think
  5. He has a body language suitable to the role he has
  6. When people asks him a question, he answers it perfectly and adds on to it
  7. He is aware of the audience issues, knows what we are thinking and answers in the best way

Lets see one more person “Mr. Simon Sinek”, who has all the above points plus

  1. He has good grammar, vocabulary and structure
  2. He includes stories, apt words in his speech
  3. He transports the emotions both verbally and non verbally
  4. Sometimes he uses white boards or presentations to further enhance his speech
  5. His gesture integrates with the content
  6. He has a heart to heart connect with the audience

Another speaker whom I personally know, “Mr. Deepak Justin” he adds additional flavour

  1. He uses all the above elements (maybe it body language, vocal variety …) to the fullest
  2. People want to repeat his speeches
  3. He narrates poems and stories which stick in your brain for a long long time
  4. People want to listen to him whenever he speaks
  5. He speaks with an utmost humbleness even after being a veteran
  6. He has that empathy flavor in his speech
  7. He brings a viewpoint which you cannot think off
  8. He always has a purpose or a goal to teach in his speech

Is this all the qualities, the answer is no there are still some points which I feel are to a good public speaker (this section will be update whenever I get more insights),

  1. People gifted with one of the best voices (For Ex – sweet, strong – Mr. Barrack Obama)

Lets now get into depth of each of the approx 20 points which has been mentioned above,but hold on have you figured out which benchmark speaker you want to become (Just think about it before proceeding). For me Deepak Justin (DJ) is one person which I truly aspire for becoming first. So for becoming like DJ would I need years, the answer is maybe but we can reduce the time by learning skills which they use in our everyday communication and speeches.

Everyday communication we can work it out but to stretch ourselves we need to deliver speeches and the best platform is “Toastmasters International” . Now lets understand how should we go ahead with the speeches in Toastmasters and also the same we will try applying in our life. I will pick this from DJ’s words “Content is the King but delivery is the Queen and in a game of chess always the Queen protects the King”, the meaning is quite deep here and for simplicity the message here is only 7% out of your speech content matters but remaining 93% is delivery. So should we ignore the content – the answer is a big No. Delivery is to enhance the content to the maximum level possible and that degree depends to what level you want to take to.

In a summary the direction we want to take is mastering the content and delivery whenever we speak. In the next posts I would be covering this path towards mastery. Its a long way and everyday its a step towards it. We will discuss on the goal setting in the next post because unless you don’t have milestones in your life you will never understand how far you have come. Just shoot out your questions on the blog, I would be happy to answer.

Thank you
Ajay Tiwari

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