While knowledge of your speech or presentation is invaluable in public speaking, if you are unable to speak from your heart, then all your knowledge is for naught. The best in public speaking are those who are able to excite, captivate, and enthrall their listeners. And, none of those adjectives are possible if your heart is not involved in the process.
Speaking from your heart means engaging your audience by means of your vocal tone, facial expression and body language. But that is not all of it. You need to treat your audience as if you were conversing with them in your living room or at the kitchen table.
Public speaking is the art of oral communication with an audience – not at them. The preposition with is what makes this definition so important. If you are unable to speak from your heart with life and emotion all the while making eye contact with those in your audience, then you are not communicating with your audience. Instead you are just spitting out a pile of words.
Often we tend to think that public speaking is a one-way street: the speaker does all the talking and the audience just sits there. That is not public speaking. The beauty of the art of oral communication is that you are indeed having a conversation. Your audience’s reaction to you – their smiles, their nods, their laughter, their frowns – is the conversation.
Some courses in public speaking teach you to stare at an object on the wall or choose one individual to focus on during your delivery. First of all, this is not the way to calm your fears or nervousness. In truth, it only exacerbates the problem. Secondly, by directing your line of vision to one thing, one spot, or one location, you are unable to perceive or recognize how your audience is responding to your words. And that is when you become ineffective in your delivery.
If your focus is not on your entire audience, then you will fail to recognize how your message is being received, whether your audience is in agreement or disagreement with your words, whether they are enjoying listening to you or whether they are more concerned with their iPods.
Yes, you must know and be most comfortable with your speech or presentation; but, if you do not include color, emotion, and animation in your delivery, then do not expect your audience to find your message interesting or memorable. Use your mind but speak from your heart and watch how much more receptive they will be towards you.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.