A “Must” for Good Public Speaking

I want to give you one, essential tool for good public speaking. Being able to speak well in public demands hard work, practice, and attention to the details. It also has a hidden part that makes all the difference in good public speaking.

Begin well and end well.

You will get only one chance at a first impression or a good beginning. It’s the same way with a good ending. Everything you say is important, but a good beginning and a good ending make all the difference.

What constitutes a good beginning? I spend more time on the beginning than any other part of the speech or message. A good beginning “hooks” the listener and prepares the listener for everything else that you are going to say. Speeches should be rehearsed, this is especially true for the beginning and end or the introduction and conclusion.

In some way or the other, you should use the beginning to tell the audience what you want to happen and what you want them to do. More than anything else, you are immediately persuading the listeners toward your point of view. After all, you are speaking to influence people. Let them know at the very beginning what you hope to accomplish through your speech.

Stories and appropriate humor help gain attention and get the listener on your side. People love stories, particularly stories that are true to life and come from your own background and experience. This is one of the reasons for the phenomenal success of Facebook. Do your best to gain the attention of your listeners with a good story. You only have a few minutes for the audience to decide whether or not they should listen. They will decide in the first few minutes how good the speech is. If you don’t have a good beginning, your ending probably will not matter.

Assuming that you have begun well, you are then ready to have a strong closing. The last few minutes of your speech should be used to influence people toward your point of view and toward positive action. The closing should be rehearsed as well as the beginning.

The beginning and the ending are “musts.” Spend time on this part of the speech and you are very likely to do a good job and to influence people.

You can find additional help with public speaking in the following two posts: http://waylonbailey.com/2011/08/tips-for-becoming-a-better-public-speaker/ and http://waylonbailey.com/2011/09/the-first-step-in-learning-to-speak-in-public/

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3 Responses

  1. My speech teacher in college taught me this. She used the word exigence. The purpose of the opening statement is to create a need to listen on the part of the audience. I try to use this principle every week in my preaching. Thank you Dr. Bailey for being such a good example in this area.

  2. Great comment. Thanks for helping us understand this principle. You really do have to understand why you “need” to listen. That is the job of the speaker.

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