Hello there! Welcome to my blogsite. This is LiveSpeech. A platform of "learning, un-learning and re-learning" (education, in its modern definition).
On this blog, I will be posting materials on the subject of effective communication in public speaking and the much of its ramification. This first article is an introduction to public speaking or oratory. It describes the framework of public speaking without getting into much details. Specifics will follow in my subsequent posts.
Oratory is a form of science as well as an art. The distinction between the two can be quite obscure; difficult to define. But to be good at it, one must first recognise and understand these two aspects.
First, as a science, oratory has many principles; even laws. There are cases wherein the misapplication of a principle or the disobedience of a law could utterly ruin an otherwise excellent speech or presentation. But unlike chemistry and physics, the "laws of oratory" are not cast in stone -- rigid and immutable. Atimes they may be "bent" in context.
Now here's a question I often get: "How do I recognise a context requiring a modification, or bending, of a law or principle?"
The key is OBSERVATION.
A good understanding of a particular principle, for instance, allows an individual to make an on-the-spot assessment of a situation and quickly adapt that principle to suit the situation. I call it the Reactive Feedback Mechanism, or RFM, but I like to refer to it as "Reactive FM" (resembles a radio station nomenclature :-) :-) :-)).
On the other hand, oratory is an art. Its execution bears the mark of creativity all the way. The speaker need not be a genius, but as I outlined above, a steady two-way flow of feedback and reaction is essential if he/she wishes to make a strategic impact. Not all the principles are applicable in a given situation. The ability to make the right decisions in your choice of tact calls for accurate intuition. But adapting and re-adapting these tactics to changing rhetorical climate demands creativity from you.
This word "creativity" is rather heavy in this usage. It encompasses a range of tools, actions and inactions.
Far too much emphasis is often laid on what one ought to DO or how to ACT but too little is said about the power of one's INACTIONS. Now, here lies the art of public speaking. It is subtle. It involves one's mental resources beyond what is popularly recognised. Earlier on I mentioned OBSERVATION as the key to effectively detecting when the need arises to make a tactical manoeuvre.
It means gauging your audience.
It means reading their MENTAL participation in your speech/presentation in REAL-TIME -- on the spot -- and make changes appropriately.
This is very important.
Naturally, the human mind likes to wonder. The minds of your listeners will tend to drift away from your presentation. You'd need to constantly keep their focus on your speech by using what are called rhetorical tools as appropriate. More on these later.
But one thing I must emphasise at this point is the pre-eminence of a formidable personality in the spectrum of attributes and skills which combine to make a great speaker. It is said that the greatest human desire is the need to be appreciated, to be loved. But for someone to appreciate or love you means that the person might have to first TRUST you. This is not easy. Getting the listener to trust you and believe you is an objective of every speaker, whether (s) he knows it or not, and to do this requires influencing the person's thoughts, inducing feelings an setting off emotions.
At the end, it all boils down to mastering human psychology.
Do this well and you're well on your way to becoming a sterling orator. ****