Like any dynamic field, public speaking has its fair share of critical elements that can make or break your speech communication process. But before you get overwhelmed by the thought of it, did you know that there are really only seven elements you should keep an eye out for?
That’s right! Even if the idea of public speaking makes you want to run away from all of your responsibilities, these basic elements of public speaking can actually help you move through your anxiety.
So, care to delve into my expert tips? There’s a whole world of public speaking opportunities out there waiting for you…
See Related: You Can Become a Keynote Speaker – Here’s How
#1. The speaker
Alright, we’ll start off really basic. The first of these seven elements of public speaking is, well, the speaker!
My career as a corporate master of ceremonies has taught me quite a bit about how to carry myself in front of a large crowd. And for those who feel that public speaking is too much of a leap for them, start with these baby steps to get you comfortable on stage talking.
Speech delivery and presentation skills make all the difference
When we talk about public speaking, we’re not talking about improv comedy. We’re talking about a well rehearsed set that you’ve poured over again and again to make sure that the most critical elements of your message come across.
Grabbing the audience’s attention with your voice is one thing. But to keep them paying attention, you’ll have to communicate your knowledge both verbally and physically.
The communication process includes body language too
I’m sure you’ve had to listen to a public speaker who has a wealth of knowledge to communicate, but little non-verbal nuance to keep their listeners engaged. Isn’t that such a bummer?
Eye contact, physical posture, facial expressions, body’s movement, and more all go into making a great speech. So as you practice, pay attention to these elements just as much as you would the content of your speech.
#2. The message
On the flip side of the coin, speakers may have all the stellar presentation skills in the world. But little content to deliver.
Often, this makes for an unclear message, leaving the audience confused as to what they were to gain from such a speech. So, how do you go about making your message crystal clear?
Making a message crystal clear
Start with the end. What do you want the audience to gain from your speech? Is it the latest trends in the industry? Or a specific message for your company’s clientele?
Determining what your message refers to must be at the very start of your process. Don’t try to wind your way to get to your point. Start with it.
#3. The audience
Public speaking is all about speakers developing a relationship with the audience. Just as you would when meeting a person for a business meeting, you want to do your research beforehand to make sure that your communication style hits home for them.
This is why an effective speech takes plenty of research and advance preparation
There’s nothing I love more as an event emcee than meeting with event organizers beforehand to learn about their goals for the night. Not only does this make the final presentation a group effort.
But it offers every person in the room a chance to speak up and present an example of what they believe their ideal clientele is like. Remember: the presentation is for the audience. So you need to make it about them.
#4. The channel
The medium through which you deliver your speech will have a great impact on developing your speech communication process. How exactly, you ask?
What channel are we talking here? Visual, auditory, nonverbal?
A visual channel includes the use of graphics, photographs, videos, and even objects, all of which can help to bring out your message in a clearer tone. Whereas an auditory channel may refer to your voice variations or various audio materials you can bring in.
A nonverbal channel includes body language, gestures, and physical elements. So making sure that each channel is dialed in correctly will allow your public speaking to speak to many.
How will this communication channel influence the way audience members take in your message?
Not everyone absorbs information in the same way. Some of us are visual learners, others are auditory, and so on.
But that doesn’t mean your speech can’t include all of these elements. In fact, that’s the gold standard when talking to such a large group of people!
Distractions, laughter, mishaps… Interference happens.
But an event host always knows how to maintain the audience’s attention throughout. So what are the various types of interference you need to be looking out for?
That’s finding the balance between external noise and internal noise
External noise consists of audience laughter, poor ventilation, poor acoustics, and more. While visual interference refers to low light or physical obstacles between you and the audience.
Internal noise occurs in the speaker themself, perhaps when they’re lost their train of thought or get mixed up in their own messaging. But ultimately, finding a way to balance all of these various types of noise is a skill set all public speaking professionals must learn how to master.
Most people cringe at the sound of feedback, mainly because they don’t want to be criticized! But the only way for a speaker to advance in their career is to gain insight into the audience’s experience.
Everybody’s a critic… but a professional and effective speaker knows how to navigate this
Feedback isn’t just receiving verbal statements from the audience. It also refers to when a speaker receives information from the audience, whether through verbal or nonverbal cues.
You may hear the audience laugh in the midst of your public speaking. And that, in and of itself, offers you information to practice that form of communication that they best respond to.
On the other hand, you might see confused expressions. And this is your cue to talk through the discomfort or lack of clarity to reach a level of credibility that proves you heard the audience and are now catering to them.
You can use the feedback process as a tool for growth
Now more than ever, speakers today are looking for self-improvement tools. And they’ll get no better or more tips than from audience reactions as they are speaking.
The final element of public speaking revolves around the situation of the speech. That is, both the location of the conference hall and the emotional state in which your attendees are showing up.
It could boil down to geographic location, but what do the event organizers want listeners to come away with?
Maybe you’ve been asked to uplift a community that’s been suffering. Or perhaps you’re speaking about industry tips to advance the careers of young professionals.
Either way, each refers to a specific situation that needs to be handled with care. So as you bring together all of the elements of your public speaking gig, consider the big picture of what you’re there to accomplish.
Putting it all together
And there you have it! With all of these elements in sync, you’ll be sure to make a splash at your next public speaking arrangement. So long as you remain focused on…
#1. The speaker
#2. The message
#3. The audience
#4. The channel
Keep Reading: 6 Ways to Host a Vendor Event with Serious Payoff
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.