Spring Refresher: The Ten Commandments of Effective Public Speaking
By Robert J. Geline, 144 Media LLC
Spring means renewal and new beginnings. What better time than the season of Easter and Passover to offer a refresher on what it takes to succeed when it’s your time to get up and present?
I don’t have a hotline to the Lord, but if I did, and he was passing along a list of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING, I think it might read something like this:
I. THOU SHALT KNOW THINE AUDIENCE AND REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE THAT THINE MESSAGE MUST AT ALL TIMES RESPOND TO THINE AUDIENCE’S INTERESTS, NEEDS AND CONCERNS.
II. THOU SHALT ACTUALLY PRACTICE WHAT THOU PLANNIST TO SAY BY SPEAKING IT OUT LOUD MANY TIMES. THOU CANST NOT GET AWAY WITH “WINGING IT” NO MATTER HOW SMART ONE THINKST ONE IS.
III. THOU SHALT PREPARE AN EFFECTIVE OPENING “GRABBER” TO GALVANIZE THINE AUDIENCE’S ALWAYS FRAGILE ATTENTION.
IV. THOU SHALT BE CONCISE AND TRANSLATETH JARGON INTO WORDS OF COMMON UNDERSTANDING.
V. THOU SHALT VARY THE PACE, TONE, PITCH AND VOLUME OF THINE SPEECH. NOTHING PUTTETH AN AUDIENCE TO SLEEP AS DOTH THE MONOTONY OF A REPETITIVE VOICE PATTERN.
VI. THOU SHALT MAKE AND MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT WITH INDIVIDUALS IN THINE AUDIENCE THROUGHOUT THINE PRESENTATION.
VII. THOU SHALT NOT USETH THE LASER POINTER, NOR SHALT THOU TURNETH THINE BACK TO THE AUDIENCE AND READ THE SCREEN. THOU SHALT, HOWEVER, REMEMBER TO MAKE EFFECTIVE USE OF GESTURES BECAUSE, WHEN THE DAY ENDETH, “WE ARE ALL ITALIAN.”
VIII. THOU SHALT ATTEMPT TO FINISH EARLY AND LEAVE TIME FOR QUESTIONS THAT THOU HAST ANTICIPATED AND PREPARED TO ANSWER. (See Commandment II)
IX. THOU SHALT REPEAT THINE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS AT THE END SO THAT THINE AUDIENCE DOTH REMEMBER BEST WHAT THOU WISHEST THEM TO REMEMBER BEST.
X. ABOVE ALL, THOU SHALT SMILE.
Robert Geline is President of 144 Media LLC (www.144media.com), a New York consulting organization that specializes in media coaching, message strategy and presentation performance enhancement.
144 Media clients benefit from Bob’s decade of coaching experience and his perspective as an Emmy-winning network journalist and former national newsmagazine correspondent and editor.