A World Without Public Speaking

All comedic thoughts aside: can you imagine a world without public speaking? The Speak King has built his empire on conquering fear and ruling the stage. He’s had bountiful success with performing for his people, informing and persuading them along the way. Without public speaking, his majesty would not have reigned. Not only would the Speak King’s life been drastically changed, but also everyone else’s as well. Sit and ponder the possibilities. If the importance of public speaking is not brought to the forefront of your mind, then take this in. Where would our history be without the people who stood up and made history just by the words they spoke in public. It wouldn’t even stop there though. Fundamental life would forever be altered. Everyday we have interactions with multiple people at a time. We all speak in public everyday (well, unless you have taken a vow of silence according to your title or culture). You could be thinking, “My life doesn’t even entail any public speaking or presentations,” but there’s no doubt that you say “hello” to your neighbors. You talk to your family. You tell a joke to your coworkers at the watercooler at your place of work. We communicate with those around us. Communication is defined as the “transfer of meaningful information that can be understood.” Anything that sends a message is communication, and there are many ways that a message can be conveyed:

1) Body Language
2) Writing
3) Facial Expressions
4) Sounds
5) Touch
6) Media
7) Posture
8) Hand Gestures

All of these aspects define communication and, therefore, lend themselves hand-in-hand with public speaking. Basic human nature is to build relationships with one another and communication of some sort is essential to any human interaction. Without public speaking, we would lack the ability to flourish or develop. Public speaking is something that can’t be taken away without losing our soul as a species. So, if you’ve gathered anything from this blog during these past few months I want it to be this: public speaking is nothing to fear, but rather embrace. It is what will leave a mark on history. It is what your foundations of life are built upon. Your reputation, your relationships, your integrity, your presence, your success, and your life are all factored by several critical things, one of which is your ability to communicate ideas and opinions through public speaking.

The Speak King now relieves himself of his throne. It is yours for the taking.

References: http://fearless-publicspeaking.com/importance-of-public-speaking-html/

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Extempormania!

Some time ago on this blog, the Speak King addressed the different types of speaking that one would face in their casual or professional lives: informative, persuasive, and extemporaneous. While the first two are quite self-explanatory, extemporaneous speeches are less remarkable. You may know them by their other name: impromptu speeches. Extemporaneous presentations are conducted without any prior knowledge by the speaker that the speech was to be given. Usually, the speaker has no time for research on the topic at hand or with about 30 minutes being the maximum time that preparation can be undertaken. Not only are these kinds of speeches taught in any Public Speaking class, it is also an event in both high school and college tournaments. However, most importantly, this presentation technique is recognized by employers to be one of the most critical job skills for any company who deals with speeches, meetings, or presentations of any sort. The best extemporaneous speakers can give a professional, intelligent, and smooth speech seemingly out of clean air. Yet, the majority of individuals have difficult doing any of those things with mounds of research and hours of practice. In this post, the Speak King will give you the tips on the aspect of extemporaneous speaking that paved the road which led him all the way to the royalty of Public Speaking.

As soon as your topic is laid on you, think it all through. Decide what the focal points of your speech are going to be and construct your speech around the most important ideas you decide you want to convey. Remember the three essential parts of a speech: the introduction, body, and conclusion. Regarding the introduction, be keen to using an attention grabber that will demand the audience’s attention.

When contemplating the body, be aware that this is the most important area of your presentation. This is where your main points will be stated and elaborated on, so stream your thoughts from one point to the other. Provide concrete facts, expert opinions, interesting statistics, and entertaining bits of information to liven up your speech.

Regarding the cpnclusion, tie up all your loose ends, reiterate your main points, and solidify your listener’s beliefs in what you’ve discussed. If at any point in your presentation you begin to lose your focus while speaking, take a deep breath and gather yourself. Whatever you do, avoid silence at all costs. When lost, or at a loss of words, just revert to talking about something that is at least on topic.

Follow all of these steps just as the Speak King did and still does, and you will be on your way to being at a stature such as my own. But watch yourself, there is only one Speak King.

Resources: http://www.ehow.com/how_4705356_give-extemporaneous-speech.html

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Sparring Sessions With Questions

One of the key characteristics a king must have to be succesful is having a keen strategic mind. A king must know when to attack, when to defend, where to place his troops, where to expand, and so on. A Public Speakking has these in their arsenal as well; they must know when to be aggressive, when to field responses from the audience, where to place your body and use the stage, how to elaborate on your topic, and so on. A topic that has been evaded since the birth of this blog (not purposefully), has been the act of promoting and handling questions from the audience. Answering any inquiries your listeners may have is a significant and useful step in solidifying a speech and bettering your self-presentation as a speaker. Here are some ways to tackle any questions you are thrown and how to manage your own approach to repsonding to any.

1. Manage Your Content to Be Question Appropriate: If your speech provides information that is too simplistic and that the audience already knows, no questions will pop up. However, if your message is too dense and goes over the head of your listeners, they will not ask any questions again because they’ll be so lost from the beginning that they don’t know where to start. You must find the healthy medium. Invoke curiosity, while providing a solid foundation of knowledge that your audience can stand upon in order to voice their inquiries.

2. Leave Your Audience Wanting More: Give information that is sufficient, but leave your audience hungry for more. Don’t be exhaustive in your coverage. The last thing an audience wants is to be spoonfed  what your topic is. They want to brew up their own understandings, and if they have any questions, they will ask them. Encourage your audience to be interactive with you before you give your speech. Tell them to ask questions as they come up, ask at the end of your speech, or to write down their questions so that you can answer them once you have wrapped up your presentation.

3. Validate every question: It takes courage from the audience members to get the guts to ask a question in front of their peers. This goes along with public speaking fears and anxiety that is too common in the world today. People wonder, “is my question stupid?” “Did I just miss something and my question was answered in what was said?” Well, take all questions with open arms. A Speak King is always listening to his people. No matter if the material was already covered or the question is somewhat irrelevant — answer it and answer it clearly. The audience doesn’t want a parable. They don’t want to be bored with your response. Answer quickly, efficiently, decisively, and confidently.

Resources: http://www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/audience/presentation-question-time/

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Making History


We all know of speeches that have been considered as the best throughout the history of human civilization. So, what makes them so, well, historic? What makes someone worthy of being knighted by the Speak King, as both Patrick Henry and Winston Churchill have? I would easily say that circumstance and timeliness plays a large hand in the gravity of what one says. There must be a situation that arises to cause a man or woman to rise up, break out of their normalcy, and take the throne of a “speak king.” Furthermore, there must be a man/woman full of the characteristics that fuel the flame of the perfect circumstance. The individual making the speech at the vital time must be passionate, immersing themselves in their speeches. Their voice differentiates, they pause, and they emphasize importance with stress on certain sentences and body language. I would say that these two things (time/place and character) rely on one another directly. However, to even scratch the legacy of the greatest speeches ever, your speech itself must hold up under its own weight.

There are three aspects to a successful, memorable speech: style, substance, and impact. The first component, style, is obvious in the viewing of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. There is no more powerful speech since the dawning of man that carries more significance and power than this. King paints a picture in the listener’s mind with imagery and rattles with unparalleled ferocity throughout, which drives home the fact that the listener SHOULD care and SHOULD listen to what he has to say. The metaphors used by King are masterfully constructed, envoking specific emotions and key times while he’s speaking. His style is flawless in his delivery and his content.

The second facet of great oratory is substance. Any speech can be full of metaphors, imagery, flawless diction, and charasmatically presented, but empty on substance. A historic speech must be centered on a critical theme, show resolve in its own message, and resonate with the audience. “The Gettysburg Address” written and spoken by Abraham Lincoln is a shining example of substance. Some could say that there are three foundations of American freedom: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. Abraham Lincoln did not acknowledge the lives that had been lost at the Battle of Gettysburg, any soldier’s names, either sides who were waging war, states rights, nor of Gettysburg itself. Instead, he questioned whether government could keep its proposal of equality and continue to move towards it. A speech like this with the meaning it carried during the time it was spoken, changed American history forever.

The final key aspect of an incredible speech is impact. A life-changing speech is on that lifts up hearts in times when they have been pulled to the floor. It spreads hope in times when hope is spread thin. A memorable speech inspires, refines, and honors. The impact must have its resonance not only with the audience, but with history itself. A demonstration of a speech with profound impact is Mahatma Gandhi’s “Quit India” speech. His proposition of a non-violent movement pointed straight at the rule of Britain in India. On August 8, 1942 Gandhi rallied Indians and called for the passing of the Quit India Resolution which demanded complete independence from British rule. Though he was thrown in jail, his message was not caged and spread a fire through the people of India. The impact of Gandhi’s message planted the seed in the Indian people that led to Britain’s relinquishing of India and a monumental moment in history.

Resources: http://artofmanliness.com/2008/08/01/the-35-greatest-speeches-in-history/2/
http://www.fredgleeck.com/articles/marketing-and-promoting-your-own-seminars-and-workshops/cultivate-characteristics-of-a-great-speaker/
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1841228_1841749_1841735,00.html

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Boo! To Public Speaking Fears

 Halloween may have been yesterday, but the Speak King knows what still haunts your dreams. It stalks your conscience by day and creeps into your dreams at night. Just the thought sends chills down your spine and sweat down your face. Its existence is inevitable, yet we wish it dead. I’m not talking about snakes (terrifying, I know), spiders, heights, or flying. According to A Gallup Poll conducted in 2001, 40% of U.S. adults admit they are fearful of public speaking (which was ranked second only to, you guessed it, snakes). Public speaking is nothing to be afraid of, citizens! It’s something that is customary, encouraged, and sometimes mandatory in the workplace and in school. Before one can attempt to be a proficient speaker, these fears must be addressed and faced. Just as a person would sever the head of a poisionous serpent, The Speak King is here to provide his countrymen with the advice to cut the ties between fear and public speaking (yes, if you can’t tell, I do not enjoy snakes). Here are 4 things to keep in mind on your road to dominating the stage and conquering the attention of your audience, not from your fear, but from your lack thereof:

Happy Halloween, aspiring knights!

  Happy Halloween, aspiring knights!

1) Have A Positive Mindset: No matter how much dread you have faced in the past about public speaking, make it a point in your mind to face this speech as an opportunity rather than an obligation. Before you can convince anyone else that you have no qualms with stepping onto the stage, you have to make it known to yourself that you are no longer fearful by thinking positively.
2) Remember-You’re Not the Only One! Like I said earlier, 40% of adults have stated they have problems with public speaking. Even professional, experienced speaker become tense before they take the stage. All of this is normal. Embrace your fear and use it as motivation to perform even better.
3) Watch What You Eat: What you choose to eat, or if you decide to eat at all, can have an impact on your level of fear. If you skip a meal, you run the chance of becoming light-headed and dizzy. Also, steer away from caffeinated drinks because they can create shaking or intensify the severity of any shaking problems that may surface. Furthermore, keep from any spicy or fried foods because they can potentially upset your stomach. Focus on carbohydrate-heavy foods, they act as natural sedatives and slow your metabolism.
4) Step Up: If the choice is yours, volunteer to speak first. Courageousness will diminish your sense of fear, as well as the casting the image to your audience that you are confident, prepared, and opportunistic.

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Stripping Public Speaking Down

Let’s say this blog is a knight. A knight, in his dressing for battle, has armor covering nearly every inch of his body. This past month, the Speak King has been shedding light on the complexities and importance of public speaking, applying figurative “armor” to his readers in an effort to create public speaking “knights.” Well, there’s a chance I may have been getting ahead of myself. Instead of granting these pieces of armor, it takes a man worthy of being knighted underneath the metal suit with an understanding of the different concepts and methods of public speaking.

There are three different types of public speaking: informative, persuasive, and extemporaneous.

1. Informative speeches have a specific purpose and it’s the speaker’s mission to teach the audience information. To be successful, the audience will have left your speech with a gained knowledge of what you chose to speak about. Be careful of delving into too much information, because long speeches (as well developed as they may be) will bore your audience. Avoid jargon or any kind of language that would confuse the listeners; the success of the speech depends on the audience’s ability to comprehend and digest what the speech was about. DO NOT take sides! Informative speeches are to INFORM, which provides the audience with a clear understanding of a topic, and not to convince your listeners of anything.

2. This is where the convincing is key. The intention of a persuasive speech should be to change or alter the opinions of the audience. It is critical that basic information is shed on your topic, but you can’t just stop there. You must engage your audience with researched, convincing information in order to change their minds to your liking. It is key that you deliver a persuasive speech with passion, because if you don’t care, neither will your listeners. Connect with your audience by addressing the other side of your argument and considering it’s legitimacy, which breaks down their wall against what you’re saying and allows you to insert why you chose the side that you did.

3. Extemporaneous speeches are done on a whim with no preparation or previous knowledge that it would be conducted. This increases the likelihood of nervousness or a panicky nature, but don’t fret. Brainstorm the most crucial points of what is being asked of you and speak with confidence in what you’re saying. This exudes an increased sense of what you choose to say. Extemporaneous public speaking can be improved in one way: practice. Choose anything to speak about off the top of your head, stand in front of a mirror, and watch yourself. If you aren’t impressed, begin to use body language and annunciate important points.

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Trigger Words: What are They and When Can I Pull the Trigger?

Now that you have been exposed to what trigger words are, it is time that we discuss how they should be used. It can be argued that your diction while speaking publicly can be more influential on the audience’s reaction to your speech than body language, preparation, or even the sources gathered. Without successful word choice, good body movement is just a game of charades. Without good diction, preparation is just a waste of time. Without orchestrating your words in a way that the audience can respect, research is just a bundle of useless information. The gravity of diction is heavy on the shoulder of a public speaker and trigger words can sometimes be viewed as a ticket out.

Letting loose a trigger word (whether positive or negative) pulls a reader’s attention (again whether that attention is positive or negative depends on the words chosen). When using words that are fragile in nature, great evaluation should be taken in examining the effect the word could have on an individual or an entire audience. Positive trigger words can be managed to pull in the listeners and grab their attention, but use them too much and they become dull. Positive trigger words work wonders for reaching your hand through the listener’s threshold and snatching their attention from them, but there’s nothing that lulls an audience to sleep or that loses listeners quicker than someone who repeats themselves, speaks in circles, or doesn’t expand their vocabulary. Negative trigger words should be avoided all together unless it is a quote, you are in a context where the word is appropriate, or you are speaking against the proponents of the phrase.

Trigger words are risky and unpredictable in any context. If the speech is informative: give your information, support it with sources/facts, summarize your main points, and sit down. Any loaded words can be more easily managed to be disregarded in this form. If the speech is persuasive: use an attention-getter (humor, shock, etc.) state your beliefs, reinforce your opinion with sources/facts, use positive trigger words scattered throughout, summarize why your opinion is correct based on what you have spoken of, and sit down.

Do as the Speak King says, or you could be pulling the trigger on your own public speaking “execution.”
Resources: http://textcommons.org/node/119

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