The Key to Being a Successful Speaker
I am one of those who suffer from butterflies, that uncomfortable feeling in my chest and stomach, before speaking in public. This is not only a problem for myself, but it is also a common fear and a concern for many people. My purpose is to denounce a few dynamics I feel have helped me to become a more effective speaker and to manage my butterflies. I will prove to you that strong body language makes ideas and feelings more clear, vigorous and engaging. First, I will show how eye contact unconsciously engages the audience. Second, I will prove that vocal emphasis is the key to a vigorous speech. Third, I will confirm that gestures reinforce the ideas of the speech, making the speech clearer to the audience.
I am able to tell how well my audience is engaging through eye contact. Eye contact is not achieved by looking out the window, at the ceiling or floor, or at notes too often. Good eye contact does not mean looking over the heads of people or moving quickly from face to face, or even picking out and speaking mainly to one member of the audience who seems interested. Rather, eye contact means looking into the eyes of a member of the audience and holding the gaze for a moment or two and then looking at other members of the audience in the same way. Through eye contact a sense of interaction is enhanced. I have learned through presenting my speeches that eye contact allows me to get to know and appreciate my audience as individuals, as they are given an opportunity to get to know and appreciate me. By means of eye contact, I am able to make ideas and feelings more clear. I am able to determine if I am being understood. I can detect signs of interest or lack of comprehension. I feel that I must eye the audience to really engage communication.
Our voices naturally convey feeling. When we suppress our emotions or exert strong will power to control our actions, our voice reflects such activity. We may appear calm and even manage a smile, but there is edginess to our voice that shows the tenseness. An effective voice reflects the speaker's true feelings about the idea. A voice that reflects the speaker's personal involvement is generally vigorous. According to Wilbur E. Gilman, a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York and author of The Fundamentals of Speaking, the speaker who develops the skills to control his voice gives his words richer and fuller meanings, makes his ideas clearer and more emphatic, brings out...