Today Jennifer Madden taught us some very useful tips on speaking in public. I also learned from her that she received her PhD and master’s degree at Brown University. She was also a public speaking consultant. She taught us so much, I learned that 60% of a message is through the visual, and that it carries four times the impact.
Human beings are horrible listeners, it’s said that about 50% of what you hear, you forget just after a few minutes. Ever as for directions from someone and then after you say you’ve got it, you forget everything they just said? This shows us how forgetful we are and how it’s important to keep the audience captivated and interested. Some great ways to capture your audience is to use vocal variation in the tone of your voice. Another good tip is to use pauses in between sentences. This also gives what you said, impact. The pause gives time for the individual to reflect and anticipate what is going to happen next. Therefore, using pauses during your speech is definitely very effective at capturing the spectators attention.
Your body language also shows a lot, so if you close your body it makes you look like you don’t care, or your too casual. When you close your body you also aren’t at your tallest. So, a strong, tall, upright position is best. Your arm and hands are another space of your body that the audience is going to be judging so it’s important that you use don’t do anything awkward with them.
Some speech coaches tell us to look right above the heads of our audience to fool our listeners into thinking that we are giving them eye contact, but they can see. Even the four heads aren’t a good place. Instead focus on looking directly in between the eyes and eyebrows of your audience. Eye contact is so important in public speaking since it shows confidence, conviction, and honesty.
Holding note cards is okay, but you shouldn’t be married to them. You should be able to just glance at them and not read off the cards. Using paper is not a good idea since it looks unprofessional and makes too much noise. Also, the paper might slip out of your hand and you could drop it onto the floor. Then what do you do? Awkwardly pick it up or leave it there? If you leave it there you’ve lost your audience since all they are thinking about is that paper and why you won’t pick it up. Pens are also a bad idea since if you are nervous you will most likely begin to fidget with the pen which the audience will notice and it will take their attention away from you. So, in conclusion, it’s best to just not hold anything in your hands if you can.
However, if you aren’t holding something then what do you do with your hands? Well my friend, that is where gestures come into play. By using hand movements and gestures you grab the audience’s attention and helps convey a message for you. After all, about 60% to 75% of all communication is nonverbal, so gestures are very important.
What you are talking about is also very important, so when choosing a topic, it’s important to think about these things. What does the audience getting from listening to this speech, or donating their money? Snacks? Their name engraved onto a park bench? Or how about to know that they did something for the good of humanity. It’s important that you pull your audience in by using an attention grabber. You could use pathos, logos, or ethos but try to persuade them that your message is extremely important. You could start off my saying a dramatic statistic, or asking the audience a question but remember that your purpose is to create an impact.
I feel like I learned so much about public speaking from Jennifer that I could do a speech tomorrow in front of a thousand people and be confident!
After Jennifer Madden lectured us on how to be a better public speaker we had to go to lunch and do our “lunch and learn”. The assignment for today was to ask a group of people to hold a sign that read “I am a feminist” and take a picture with it. The point of this activity was to see how people react to feminism, and if they even understand what it is.
At lunch I walked up to the first group of guys and asked them each what they thought what a feminist was and what being one meant. They all agreed that a feminist is a person who stands up for women’s rights, and equality for all genders. They also said that being a feminist was okay if the person wasn’t being erratic or hurting someone in the process. So, after I asked them what they thought about feminism I asked them if it was alright if I could take a photo of them holding the sign. They were very open to it and even agreed with excitement. It made me feel happy to think that they saw feminism and feminists in such a positive way since so many people think that being feminist is bad. I’m also glad that these men weren’t afraid to admit to me that they were feminists since it can be considered not masculine enough to be a feminist.
After lunch, I walked back to my class and discussed my results with my class. I was shocked to find that a lot of people were also very passionate about feminism, including men.
I think that the image of a feminist has changed in past few years and it is becoming more normalized and common in society. Feminism isn’t also as negative as it once was thought to be. I know that back home feminism is still a joke and many people don’t like to think of themselves as one. Even if they do believe in women’s rights and equality. I think that now that I know so much about feminism it is my duty to dismiss the rumors of what many think it is and help people understand it more.