Script your success story (2)The art of public speaking for English language learners [Archives:2007/1053/Education]

May 21 2007

By: Anupma Tripathi, MBA, LLM
[email protected]

Unless you invest time and effort in improving your English, you can't make significant progress in the art of communication as communication is a skill much like swimming. If you don't get into the water and actually start swimming, your swimming skill will not improve.

Let's now consider some vital components which play a decisive role in oral communication.

Intonation is perhaps the chief means by which the speaker conveys his attitudes and emotions in oral communication. The import of an utterance does not reveal itself in any noticeable way without appropriate intonational pattern. It is not made clear to the hearer whether the speaker's attitude is one of politeness, assertiveness, concern or incredibility.

Intonation makes distinctions of attitudinal nuances to which grammar most often gives no structural clues.

The following pairs of sentences show how intonation signals the speaker's attitudes and emotions:-

a. He is very good. (plain statement)

b. He is very good (reservation on the part of the speaker)

a. When can you come? (neither polite nor impolite)

b. When can you come? (expresses politeness)

a. Thank you (genuine gratitude)

b. Thank you (casual)

a. He'll fall (uninterested)

b. He'll fall (concern).

Ability in expressing your needs, wants, opinions, feelings and beliefs in apologetic, indifferent or self-effacing ways will help you to think creatively in English, improve your fluency and reduce your anxiety about speaking English. By rehearsing the conversations and explanations of the classroom, focusing on the professor's intonation and organization markers in your class, you might further enhance your speaking skills.

The tactics of improvement in communication and speaking skills highly depend upon your acquisition of:

– The techniques of self-enhancement

– The skills of describing yourself in positive terms

– Appropriate emotional cues

– An adequate knowledge base

In the realm of public speaking, the ultimate goal of the speaker is to elicit the expected response from the listener. Therefore, the first step to be taken care of before you plan a research or organize a presentation is to determine the precise objective of the presentation. You must have a very clear and focused objective before you begin. The following are a few tips for successful public speaking:-

1. Know your audience: You must have a fair idea of the intellectual level of the audience and accordingly structure out the presentation.

2. Know your subject: Have a command on your material. Practice and revise your speech. There should be a careful and deliberate sequential and hierarchical arrangement of thoughts.

3. Know your goal: You must be aware of the goal that outlines the purpose of the presentation. Focus is the key to a successful presentation.

4. Turn nervousness into enthusiasm: Turn your nervousness, confusion and disorder into positive energy.

5. Gain experience: Try to learn from your mistakes as experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective public speaking.

Public speaking is all about communicating or sharing information or streamlined expression of thoughts with a group or an individual. Thus expression of your thoughts, ideas and concerns clearly and in a lively manner will go a long way to instill and sustain the interest of your audiences.