Introduction | Message | Audience | Structure | Physical Aspects | Psychological Aspects

Introduction

Intro | The web | How to use the tool | Approach

What is public speaking?

Public speaking, as we define it, is any act of speech directed to an audience, no matter if there are two people or hundreds listening. Another important characteristic of public speaking is that one usually pursues an aim – the speech, lecture or workshop has a particular purpose. For this reason it is helpful to think about a strategy on how to bring the key message across. The way of presenting differs depending on the occasion, the audience, the set-up, the purpose, the speaker’s preferences and other aspects. Similarly, the reason why one speaks publicly varies. It may be on the job with your colleagues or clients. It may be in front of an audience that is interested in the subject or whose attention you have to gain.

What is the purpose of this web tool?

Due to all these variables we are convinced that there is not one single recipe that can tell us how to perform well at public speaking. It is your individual task to find out what you need in order to give a successful speech or workshop at a certain occasion and how you can improve your performance by enhancing your skills and your way of preparing. Therefore, this website is designed as an online tool which you can use selectively. We defined categories to deal with theoretical aspects. These sections are supported by examples and exercises. This way you are provided with some input and guidance, which is meant to give you confidence and encourage you to try it out yourself.

What is the idea behind this web tool?

A major difference between public speaking and a more informal type of interaction is that you usually do not have a chance to check, if the audience got your message. As this, however, is the actual purpose of a speech or a workshop, it is advisory to look at what other people, who brought their message across, did to achieve this. Still, watching the examples of best practice does not substitute your own practice and experience. By learning and trying it yourself, you can learn a lot. Who knows better than you what are your strengths and weaknesses? Which skills you want to improve? What do you need to feel comfortable?

The content of this web tool is based on our personal experience in public speaking. We speak to different audiences as part of our work as college teachers, or representatives of an NGO, as students. Due to our job we have also listened to many people. Analysing our own experience was the first step. There was something inspiring about good speeches and workshops. Still seeing how one can struggle when speaking in public made us look out for strengths and weaknesses of speakers. We also tried to identify problems to see how they can be solved or avoided. So now we want to pass on, our understanding for the challenges people may find in public speaking, but our experience showed that people can improve. And so can you! We hope to help you in doing so with our tips.

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