Using Public Speaking to Increase Your PR NetworkBy: Ana Ventura
The first time I was assigned an oral presentation as a college freshmen, I figured it would be an easy A. But much to my dismay, as I stood in front of the classroom, my palms became drenched with sweat and I couldn't remember a word of the material I had so laboriously researched.
You might be wondering, "So what does this have to do with my PR campaign?" Surprisingly, it might be more than you think. Let's say your company had decided to sponsor a charity event, and the director of the organization asks you to say a few words at the event. Whether this invitation is spur of the moment or planned, if you don't have a few good public speaking skills under your belt, you could end up doing more harm to your company's face than good.
Public speaking is not an easy task, and one that takes a fair amount of practice and confidence. Many people perceive speakers that give off a certain air of knowledge to be experts on the topic being covered. Even if you aren't really an expert, it doesn't hurt to sound like one, right?
The first thing you should take in account when planning a speech is who you will be presenting to. Demographics and psychographics are two things that should be looked at carefully. Demographics deals with such issues as age, sex, socio-economic status and education level, while psychographics leans towards the ideologies and beliefs systems of the audience. Obviously, presenting to a group of high schoolers will necessitate a different tone and speech type than would a presentation to a group of science junkies at a physics convention.
You also need to look at the message that you wish to convey to your audience. This will lead to figuring out what sort of speech you need to work on. There are different types of speeches, including demonstration, informative, or persuasive. If you expect an audience to listen, you have to give them a reason. Play off their motivations-- always remember that humans act and direct their behavior according towards wants and needs.
However, it doesn't matter how much you appeal to someone's emotions if you have no credibility. Establishing credibility is important because it builds trust between you and the audience. Some common ways to portray credibility is by the use of facts, statistics, narratives, and defining the jargon that your audience might not be immediately familiar with.
During the deliverance of your speech or presentation, it is key that you order your points in a way that will make sense to the audience. Chronological, spatial, and cause and effect ordering are a few examples of ways that work well.
Along with the points you make in your speech, good visual aids will oftentimes reinforce the ideas for your audience. An image or graph makes your key concepts much clearer for the listener.
Finally, speech deliverance is of utmost importance because let's face it-- no matter how much preparation you put into your speech, it won't matter much if you forget every word once you're up there.
The four main delivery formats used in speech making include impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, and memorized. If you've done all this preparation, chances are you're not giving an impromptu talk. So let's look at the other three. You already know what a memorized speech is, and you might have guessed that a manuscript is one that is simply read allowed verbatim. Extemporaneous speaking, however, involves very few notes and memorization. This is sometimes harder than the other forms, but at the same time usually involves fewer blunders and allows for more eye contact with the audience.
By the end of my college career, I could stand in front of fairly large audiences with enough confidence to glide through my points with ease. Granted, I did stumble across some unexpected pitfalls every now and again, but the more I spoke the easier it was to gracefully ease my way out of those hairy situations.
Making pubic presentations and speaking part of your PR campaign can reinforce your image as a trustworthy and intelligent person, especially concerning whatever it is you're trying to sell. Over time, your charisma and demeanor will reflect the confidence involved in public speaking. Sales will start rolling in.
© Copyright 2001, Ana Ventura.
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.