4 Steps to Become An Effective Speaker
Posted on: March 29, 2011, by : Brandon Gilliland

It doesn’t matter if it is a sermon, a class speech, or various public speaking- there are certain strategies one must develop in order to become efficient and comfortable at speaking. I am definitely not the most experienced speaker, but I have learned a few things from many individuals that are great at it. One major speech I had to give this year was in one of my college classes… (Please keep in mind that this story is humorously written. It is not entirely true.)

When I was told that a speech had to be given based on the class research paper on my first day of Composition 2, I thought I was in for a rough ride. As the first few weeks passed, I was relaxed. Nothing was too much different from the previous semester. As the weeks in the class progressed, the time for research speech was arriving quickly. Although the time for the speech was arriving quickly, I was not going to think about it until it had to be done because I did not want to stress myself out.

As I walked into my professor’s classroom on a calm morning, I was unsuspecting of the dreadful event that would soon take place. I thought that the class would be another light discussion about a great literacy or another essay to write. I was wrong. As soon as I could blink, I was signing my name for a date to give my research paper speech. Although I can easily carry on a conversation with a rock, I still dreaded the speech because I knew that it would be a challenge. Even though I still had a few weeks to research and plan my speech, I was still nervous. On several events, I became so nervous that I felt the urge to stand up and give a speech in the middle of my other classes. It did not matter what was going on in the class because my teachers knew that this is one of the outcomes for students in Composition 2 right before the speech. I later found that this is known as Random Speech Syndrome (RSS). Although most teachers found this to be highly annoying, they knew how to deal with Random Speech Syndrome from years of experience.

The night before my speech was terrifying. I stayed up most of the night just trying to pronounce my name properly for the speech. After I finally pronounced my name and I organized my research facts, it was time to prepare for the speech the next day. When morning came, I knew that it was judgment day. As I walked into the classroom, I tried to turn my mind away from the fact that I had to give a speech. As my name was called to walk to the podium, next to the patriotic American flag, I gave my speech. After the speech was completed, I realized that it was not as bad as I had imagined. As long as one finds important research about the topic and is diligent to prepare, the speech will not be difficult.

As you can see, that was my humorous story about my speech. Although I mentioned in the last sentence that the speech would not be difficult, there are four steps to keep in mind.

4 Steps to Become an Effective Speaker:

  • Prepare.

When you prepare for speaking, you are more likely to feel less stressed and comfortable. If you don’t prepare at all, it is going to be very difficult to present your thoughts clearly and effectively.

  • Know the material inside and out.

It is extremely important to understand the material you are presenting better than anyone in the audience. If you barely grasp the material, why are you trying to explain it to others? It is impossible to be an effective speaker if you do not know the material inside and out.

  • Understand the opposing view points.

It should be clear, as a speaker, that not everyone is going to agree with you. Understanding the opposing view points of your particular topic is crucial. One must know the opposing side in order to effectively persuade or present an idea. Even though your method or idea might be completely right, it is important to clue others in on the opposing sides of the argument.

  • Be passionate.

As an effective speaker, it is important to be engaging with your audience. One way to do that is to become passionate about your topic. There are so many speakers that aren’t truly passionate. This only causes others to forget what is mentioned. The speeches and talks that are most rememberable are the ones given by passionate individuals.

What methods have you found to hold true in an effective speaker? Let me know in the comments.

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  • Alex Humphrey

    Great stuff, Brandon!

  • Henry

    I like this…

  • good stuff!
    I learned a lot about speaking by preaching on the streets for years in Germany haha
    It was super fun!

    • I bet that was a little different!

  • i didn’t know the opposing viewpoints… not sure there were any!

  • I don’t think even those steps could prepare /me/ xD luckily I’ll never have to do a speech, at least, no time soon, as long as I’m Home Schooled 😛