Public Speaking

Public Speaking is a skill useful in school at work. and if we want to convince a group of people. Investor Warren Buffett called it the most important skill we can learn to advance in a career. Here a short sprouts guide to master the most powerful weapon if we want to bring change to the world.

The Issue Take an issue you really care about. When you study it, you are intrinsically motivated to learn it deeper and put in the extra effort. . Later it gives you the passion you need to inspire your audience. When we speak in public, passion is probably our most powerful force. It shines through our eyes and straight into the hearts of the audience.

One Simple Message Every issue has many angles to which we can highlight. But the audience has a limited attention span and many others issues in life, so if we say too much, they will lose interest. To make a message stick, Chris Anderson recommends to boil it down to one idea that is worth spreading. A speech is good if it plants one creative seed in the heads of the audience. A seed can then grow into a sprout, which can change lives and be shared with others.

Structure Over 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle established 3 simple rules to any good speech:

  • Establish credibility: Ethos
  • Give good arguments: Logos
  • Conveying emotions: Pathos

But you can also tell a personal story or present a problem and then offer a solution.

Get Help A good method is using note cards. You can use one card per argument and keep the deck in your hands, alternating them as you speak. Politicians often read their speech from a teleprompter. Professionals often sell their ideas with the help of slides . When you have a product to show, demonstrate it. If you try to memorize your speech and you have one hour, spend 20 minutes studying and 40 minutes practicing to recite it. That’s usually the best ratio.

Speak Their Language It doesn’t matter what we say, it matters what they hear. According to Nerdwriter, Donald Trump speaks in a way that any fourth-grader can understand him. Guy Kawasaki recommends to use what he calls salient points. People don’t want to know how large a battery is. They want to know how long they can use it. When you prepare, ask yourself, how does my issue matter to this particular audience?

Practise Before you present, practice your delivery. It’s important that we stand upright, arms open, palms out. We should speak loud and clear, and make eye contact with our audience. One way to practice. Try to speak in front of friends who don’t know the topic. Then you will see if they get your point But you can also record and watch yourself on video.

Check Your Stage How big is the room, how many people will listen, will you need a microphone? Professionals will want to walk onto the stage diagonal from the left back, apparently it's the most dynamic way make an entrance. Also, always have a glass of water next to you, so you can take a sip whenever you’re losing it.

Don't be Afraid Everybody can experience speech anxiety, also known as Glossophobia. It's natural and sometimes actually helps us to reach excellence. Mahatma Gandhi called it “the awful strain of public speaking”. It prevented him for years from speaking up even at friendly dinner parties. But in 1942, Gandhi convinced 60,000 people with his Quit India Speech to join a peaceful revolt against British colonialism. He spoke up, the people followed his words and the British left .

Open For Sympathy When you enter the limelight, wait until you have everyone's full attention Then open to win sympathy, also called captatio benevolentiae. One way to do that is to excuse yourself. You can say: “you are a smart audience, so I don’t really know what I can still tell you...” Obama, opened his 2008 speech in Berlin with the words: “I have to admit that I have developed a special place in my heart for the German people”. And they loved it.

Build Curiosity Once they like you, grab their attention by building curiosity. Present a fact, statistics or a study. Or start in the middle of a story: “On my 5 birthday, my father started crying. It was the day he lost his job.” Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a champion of public speaking, asked “raise your hand if you have an emotional mother?” and everyone did (4.2]. But you can also do something funny or open with a crazy stunt.

Deliver Your Message Now make your arguments, share those personal stories and deliver metaphors which create images in the minds of your audience. If you forget what you wanted to say, don’t worry. Nobody knows what you meant to say. In 1963 Martin Luther King gave a speech in Washington. In the middle of it he stopped reading from script and started to improvise. He delivered one of the greatest speech of the twentieth-century - “I have a dream”.

Close After you are done, summarise your arguments or repeat the core message. But you can also leave them with a quote, share your dream of a new future, or close your speech like we close our videos, with a specific call for action. Here it comes!

Write a speech about an important issue, such as education. Open with sympathy, build curiosity, and then bring in your convincing argument . In the end, close it cleverly. Limit your speech to 200 words and post it in the comments below. If you want to learn public speaking, you should also practice your speech. For example, the next 5 days, 15 minutes each. Ideally, record yourself on your phone, so you can track your progress and learn from your mistakes. Upload the last try of each day onto Youtube and share the link in the comments. Then we can see how you progressed and applaud you for trying, failing and doing.