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ART OF PUBLIC SPEAKING

(Detailed DS notes – Expand them further at your peril)

1. Question to Class. What do you understand by public speaking?

2. Answer. Moderate answers from cadets. The art of public speaking can be
summerised as convincingly communicating with the target audience on a given
theme/topic. It also involves accepting their wildest of ideas/questions/feedback by
satisfying/replying which is acceptable to audience. If somehow the answer is not
available, confess to them so with the proviso that speaker will come back to them with
suitable reply.

3. Preparation. You are required to be fully prepared both in personal appearance


and also in the subject matter.

4. Assumption. There is a requirement to assume that the audience will be mix of,
knowledgeable, somewhat knowledgeable and totally ignorant about the given
subject/theme. Therefore prepare yourself accordingly. Or else be ready to face the
music.

Preparation

5. Personal Appearance. The aspect is equally important as is the subject matter if


not more. The speaker should be dressed in presentable manner prior to coming before
the audience. There is a requirement to give serious thought to this aspect. Remember
‘first impression…….’ The aspects that should be kept in view for personal outlook
including dress code are: -

(a) Appearance.

(i) Gentlemen. Have proper bath, shave, proper hair arrangement, use
hair gel if you do, use deodorant to keep you pleasant throughout the day.
Keep deodorant with you for use prior to speaking. The idea is that you
should never emit stink of your sweat even if you have remote chance of
going near the audience. In air-conditioned hall the smell becomes
unbearable. Yes brush your teeth and use dental floss for the same
purpose.

(ii) Ladies. In addition to whatever is applicable to gentlemen, ladies


may wear light make up avoiding gaudy ones. Wear light shade of lip
gloss and dash of eye-liner or mascara. Hair can be arranged in swept back
with proper hair clutches. Facial, bleach, threading and other preparation
for the purpose will perfectly be in order. Nail varnish should be of the
lighter shades both on your fingers and on the toes.

(b) Dressing-up
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(i) Gentlemen. Always dress formally. Formal dresses include: -

(aa) During day light colour shirt and light/dark colour trousers.
During night dark colour trousers and light/matching colour shirt.

(bb) Jacket, shirt and tie with light/dark colour trousers.


National dress, lounge suit or combination suit. Shirt can be plain
white to any light colour to striped ones.

(cc) Shoes – pay special attention to it. Always wear formal


shoes. No sneakers please. Black or brown shoes with inverted
leather or polished ones are ok.

(dd) Coordinates – the colour of your shoes, belt and socks


should always be same. Never wear red, white or fluorescent
coloured socks. They are ok only as stockings on the football pitch.
The same should generally be in line with your trousers. Hey
remember – cufflinks are chique – wear them. Have a hanky in
your pocket always in white or predominantly white in colour.

(ii) Ladies

(aa) Formal dresses for ladies include – national dress – saree,


business suit – dark/light colour trousers, light/striped shirt with tie
or bow/scarf, jacket if it suits. Skirt can be worn if
working/presenting in corporates. Remember pedicure and
manicure.

(bb) Foot wear should be matching. Wear belly shoes with low
heels; avoid stilettos as they make sound on hard floor surface.

(cc) Coordinates – same as in case of gentlemen. Belt should be


sleek with cute buckle. If desirous of using cuff-links make sure
they are what ladies generally wear. Remember similar looks of
Bipasha Basu in business suit in Hindi movie – ‘Corporate’.

6. Preparation for Subject. This is very important aspect of public speaking that
needs to be underscored. You have to be fully prepared for the subject. Various situations
of public speaking are: -

(a) Giving lectures, presentation, speech, debates etc where adequate time and
warning is given.

(b) Impromptu speaking when no or very less time is available to you. Such
occasions are, for example, during lecturettes, GDPIs, declamation contests or any
such situation.
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(c) When you are part of the audience and you need to participate by way of
speaking in the discussion or ask a question regarding the speech.

7. Preparation for these three situations should be carried out deliberately to include
following aspects: -

(a) Preparation for Public Speaking with Adequate Preparation Time.

(i) Carry out research using library, print and electronic media and by
interacting with the experts in the field. Have complete knowledge of the
subject at hand.

(ii) With little thought you can even consider the questions that you
may be asked at the end by the audience. Prepare for it. It will pay
dividend.

(iii) Prepare your presentation, speech or lecture using computers.


Consider whether you will carry your laptop and other accessories like
LCD projector or will these be provided by the organisers. Hey dude/babe
you cannot say today, ‘I dunno computers’. Learn it ASAP.

(iv) Don’t forget to carry your pen drive or external HDD with back-up
either in CD or elsewhere. Post a copy to your in email box for emergency
retrieval if required.

(v) Do carry a print out of your presentation in case you are being
assisted for projection of your slide presentation. Make notes for their use
during your speech/presentation/lecture.

(vi) Time and availability of venue permitting, carry out a rehearsal


with some of your friends as audience.

(b) Impromptu Public Speaking

(i) Have no doubt that you awareness level should be very high for
you meaningful participation in such type of public speaking.

(ii) You would have fair amount of idea as to what may be the topic or
theme prior to such opportunities.

(iii) You may not get the provisions to speak before the audience using
computers etc. However, you have to rely more on your mental notes then
on written ones. If you can, make small written notes as memoir for
revision prior to entering the complex. Refer to them if opportunity arises.

(iv) Mentally prepare yourself for your contribution on such


opportunities. Remember you have to not only make your presence felt but
the audience notices your contribution. All this can be achieved if you
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develop high level of confidence. Say to yourself, ‘you can do it’ and you
know you will.

(v) Reason it out with yourself, with you family members, with your
peers for all the hows and whys that may come up during such proposed
meetings or occasions. For example be ready to answer this question as to
why you are interested to join our organisation as an employee. You reply
has to be convincing to be believed by the powers or authorities that are.

(c) When Speaking as Member of the Audience. On such occasion you may
be desirous to seek certain clarifications from the speaker. The situation is almost
same as in case of impromptu public speaking. However during such situations
the subject and theme is definitely known. Your participation is either on
invitation or voluntary. The preparation for such occasion inter-alia will include: -

(i) Read and study about the subject for better assimilation. You may
ear mark grey areas or gaps in the preliminary research that you have
carried out. This will assist you in posing question/s to the speaker.

(ii) Prepare your questions in advance where the subject is of your


interest and you have nagging doubts on the same.

. (iii) Don’t forget to carry notebook and writing material to note down
impromptu question that you may wish to ask after listening to the
speaker.

Activity of Public Speaking

8. In all three situations in question certain basic rules apply. These are: -

(a) Reach the appointed venue at least 15-30 minutes (may be even more)
prior to scheduled time of commencement.

(b) Utilise available time for checking entire set up including public address
system, computers, LCD projection, light intensity on your lectern/podium.

(c) Learn to speak clearly and audibly.

(d) Form and speak short sentences. Speaking long sentences indicate that far
too many ideas are cluttering up in your mind. You have to have clear and logical
approach for speaking on any given topic.

(e) We have tendency to think in our regional language or mother tongue. It


may produce hilarious results if such thoughts are translated in English prior to
public speaking. You may have heard on the public address system, ‘Howrah se
chalkar New Delhi jane wali gari sankhya 2013 Rajdhani Express plat form
number 2 par khari hai.’ And immediate English translation that follows says,
‘From Horah to New Delhi train No 2013 Rajdhani Express is standing on the
platform number two.’ The better way is ‘….The train is parked at platform
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number two.’ (Give more examples) Try and think in English in case you have to
speak in English. It will facilitate better communication.

(f) Keep your script if you have on the lectern and physically feel the light
arrangements over the script for convenient reading. Keep a glass of water handy
for sipping in between in case required.

(g) It may be noted that each of the presentation, speech, lectures, debates or
declamation contests however long or short they are, will have three major parts,
viz., prologue or introduction, main body or meat and epilogue or conclusion.
Conclusion can have summary of what you have spoken or may have suggestions
or recommendations.

(g) Ensure that seating and other arrangements are adequate for the number of
persons attending. This aspect may or may not be your responsibility. However,
you have to ensure that your speech and presentation reaches to audience row
farthest from you.

9. Having dressed to the occasion or dressed to kill, desirous going about for public
speaking in the three situations is narrated in succeeding paragraphs.

10. Action for Public Speaking with Adequate Preparation Time.

(a) Be punctual and come before the audience scheduled to arrive at the
appointed time.

(b) Seek permission from the senior before commencement. You may come
before the lectern for doing so. This also gives time for audience to maintain
silence.

(d) Waste no time. Deliver your lecture with confidence.

(e) Always face the audience – avoid showing your back at all times.

(f) Use pointer/laser pointer in case you have to explain certain graphics on
the slide presentation.

(g) Speak small but grammatically complete sentences. Give desirable pause
after every sentence, slide or part of the presentation.

(h) Do not read the slide. The members of audience can read it all. What is
required here is your explanation on each of the point that you are showing on
each slide. You have to therefore ensure during preparation that you do not write
on each slide everything that you wish to speak.

(j) Clarification of doubts for any member of the audience during the course
of your speech/presentation should not un-nerve you.
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(k) It will be in order to inform the audience about the length of your speech,
which in any case should ideally be of 40 minutes and in any case should not
cross the time limit of one hour. Only in exceptional circumstances the length
may exceed this limit. But ensure that you give break after seeking permission
after every 40-45 minutes during the lectures.

(l) Inform audience about the major parts of your speech/presentation with
slot for clarification of doubts in the form of questions answers forum.

(m) Never discourage any one to ask any question however insignificant it
may appear to you. Politely inform your apprehension about the same in case you
wish to do so. Better still, request the person to wait till the end of your
speech/presentation.

(n) Never speak while you are moving. In case you have to move say to reach
near screen for indicating – give pause to your speech, reach the desired spot and
then continue with speaking. It is done so that while moving your face is turned
away from the audience and they may not be able to comprehend to what you say
during movement.

(o) Do not fiddle with mike, snap fingers, rub your both hands, avoid putting
hands in your pocket or make any other intentional or un-intentional gestures.
Such actions/gestures distract the audience and they will have difficulty
understanding your view point. One recommended way is cross your fingers and
clasp your both hands.

(p) Before moving to next part of your presentation inform the audience that
you’ve finished with the previous one and are now moving to next one.

(r) Maintain eyeball contact with the audience – the habit will give you
enough confidence to proceed without any inhibition.

(s) Time plan your speaking. For example, in case you have decided to allot
five minutes to third part of your presentation, make sure its over on time with at
least few seconds at hand for you transition to next one. This way you will be able
to time plan and conduct your complete speech very comfortably.

(t) In the question and answers forum, listen to the speaker carefully;
comprehend the question properly before answering it. You may have to moderate
the question in some cases.

(u) Thank the audience at the end of your speech/lecture/presentation. In most


cases you may be extended vote of thanks by chief host. Accept the same very
gracefully.

11. Action for Impromptu Public Speaking

(a) As told earlier, you have to keep yourself abreast with general awareness.
Remember acquisition of knowledge cannot be compensated with any other way.
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(b) Recall as to when you will have such situation to speak to the audience
when almost no reaction or preparation time. These are lecturettes, GDPI and
declamation contest etc.

(c) Moment you have been allotted topic to speak assimilate the same. You
should carry out quick mental appreciation of the theme. Make out plan to speak.

(d) You should not be surprised to know that speaking on such topics needs to
be divided on the similar lines of prologue or introduction, main body or meat and
epilogue or conclusion. Such mental approach will guide you to speak with logic
and sensibly.

(e) You should time plan your speech. For example in case you have been
allotted three minutes for such public speaking, it is suggested that say about 45
seconds each for introduction and conclusion and balance of major duration is
allotted for main body of the speech. Ensure that you do not leave either
introduction or conclusion.

(g) Here you may not have access to support system of computers and other
peripherals. More the reason what you speak should have adequate strength for
audience to receive it in the desired manner.

(h) Do not forget to thank all those present with a mere ‘thank you for
listening to me’ or simply ‘sharing my views with you.’

12. Action for Speaking as Member of the Audience

(a) Recall such situations are there when you are attending organised
lectures/presentation/speech. You may have genuine question to ask or submit
your view point to the speaker.

(b) If the topic is of interest to you, you should bring your question as part of
your OTW. Make sure you ask these pre-selected questions from written notes
that you have brought along with you. This will assist understanding your
problem by the speaker quickly.

(c) In case you wish to ask a question that has arisen during the lecture, note it
down clearly, seek permission during question-answers session and go ahead
confidently. Do not forget to read the question rather then trusting your memory
to form a question at the final moment.

(d) After speaker has replied to your query, you may thank the person. In case
you feel you need to further question as a rejoinder, seek permission before asking
for it.

(e) Don’t forget to thank the speaker whether your query has been
satisfactorily answered or otherwise. For God’s sake do not get after the speaker
for satisfying you the way you wish to.
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Common Sense

13. Art of public speaking is more of common sense. You must insist that every
individual must have her/his level of general awareness of a very high degree. All must
develop capability to handle training aids of computers and peripherals with adequate
skill. Usage of these equipment enhances public speaking. But remember, such aids are
just a force multipliers and not the actual force. Your actual power will be the right
preparation, forceful and convincing deliverance and smooth signing off of your speaking
prowess.