If you are scheduled to give a speech or presentation, plain speaking should be your choice so as not to appear affected, superior, or on exhibit. Plain speaking, simply put, is the ability to speak and be easily understood by all in attendance. And, it goes hand-in-hand with the theory of treating your audience as if you were having a conversation in your living room.
Lengthy sentences, long words, flowery speech, or highly technical terms do not lend themselves to plain speaking. If your audience has to struggle to understand you, then you not only will lose their attention but you will also tire them out. While the value of plain speaking is important at the lectern, it is also just as valuable in your professional and personal circles as well.
Often those who use complex words in place of a simple one are hoping to cover up their lack of knowledge of the subject or are trying to impress. Public speaking is not about impressing anyone. It is about relaying information in an entertaining manner for the purpose of informing your audience or persuading your audience to your way of thinking. The only means of accomplishing that task is to talk to your audience in language that they will easily understand.
Below are 5 things you should never do if you want to be successful in public speaking:
1. Do not try to speak with perfection. Nothing in a live venue is perfect because perfection is subjective. Allow for a mistake or two. Is it natural; it is normal.
2. Do not say your words with too much precision because the flow of your natural speech will be affected as well as the image you are projecting. Certainly you should say your words clearly and distinctly; however, exaggerating your articulation is offensive.
3. Do not use long words when simple ones will suffice.
4. Do not use technical language with which your listeners cannot identify. The only time technical language is appropriate is if you are teaching a class.
5. Do not try to be someone who you are not.
Having taught voice and presentation skills for 30 years, I can say from experience that too many people believe they should be someone other than who they are. In truth, the best public speakers are those who are, first and foremost, themselves. They speak in a language which is readily accessible and easily understood by all.
Stick to plain speaking. It is the best type of speaking when addressing an audience.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels is President of Voice Dynamic as well as Selfgrowth's Official Guide to Public Speaking. Holding private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills, she also offers Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement.
For more information on voice and presentation skills, click here for her 4-minute presentation, The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speakers