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5 Elements of Public Speaking


Hello everyone, my name is Thomas Baskins and I’m a senior consultant here at the University Speaking Center here on UNCG’s campus. And the way I’d like to start this today is how many of you possibly think that you have to give a presentation either in the near future or either in public speaking? Any type of public speaking…

(hands raised)

Okay, that’s quite a few of you. So, with every process of speaking, I think that there is going to be a five-step process. And that’s where we break down this presentation today into two components. First, it’s going to be the five-step process and how you can organize a speech. And then what I’m also going to do is give you a little bit of information about the Speaking Center and what we have to offer and how we can aid you in that five-step process.

Alright, so why don’t we start with the five-step process itself? Does anyone know what the first component is?

(heads shaking)

The first component is going to be invention. Invention is when you are discovering your topic, doing research, getting refinement on your ideas and what you are going to discuss in your presentation and elaborating on those and having points to back those up. So what you want to do is establish your credibility. What makes you the person to talk about this presentation? Or this topic? What makes you the person that knows all the knowledge needed to be able to effectively present the topic?

You also have to analyze your audience. Who are your audience members? Who are you going to be talking to? Do you really know the people that are in your audience and how they may receive the information that you’re giving to them? Does anyone know how they can really bring their audience into the presentation?

(heads shaking)

Alright, so what that’s going to bring us into is disposition and arrangement. Disposition and arrangement is structuring your presentation. Now that you have all this knowledge, you’ve done a lot of research, you know what you’re gonna talk about, how are you going to structure it? Do you have a format? Alright, so the way we like to break this down is into three basic components. The introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Does anyone know how to structure the introduction?

(heads shaking)

So the way we can start this is how I start it is with possibly a question. This is your attention getter. This is how you are going to bring your audience into your presentation. How do you want to captivate them? Do you want to use a startling statistic? Would you rather paint them a picture or give them a scenario? Or would you just rather ask them a question? So after you move on from that point, you are going to basically give them a breakdown of your presentation. What are your main points? Your main points are going to be about 3-5 components of the body. So under each one of those you will also have supporting evidence, and that’s going to go with moving along to the body. So before you get to the body, you want to make sure you are previewing your main points. Let them know what you are about to move to in the body.

And that brings us to the body itself. Do you have all of your evidence and organized in a fashion to where you can have your main points and supporting information to validate those points? And remember, they can be 3-5 points depending on the length of your presentation. And what you also want to take into consideration is that they’re clear. Make sure they’re concise. You don’t want anything that could be a little misconstrued or be able to be misinterpreted by your audience. So making sure that all of your points are clear!

And you want to make sure you have good cited sources. If you have to have sources within your presentation, make sure you bold them within your outline so you know that these are the sources that you have to state in your presentation. And then that brings us to our conclusion. Conclusion, does anyone know how to signal the conclusion?

(heads shaking)

No? Well it’s pretty simple! It can be as simple as “In Conclusion” or “Today we have discussed,” or “To tie things up” or “to wrap things up.” Things along this line allow your audience to know that your presentation is coming to an end. It allows them to gather all the information you’ve given to them, and all also allows them to break that down and assess what you’ve regurgitated to them. And that also brings us into a comparison of the introduction and conclusion. They work hand in hand, did you know that? Well the introduction is where you are going to preview all your main points and the conclusion is where you are going to review all of them. And that way, the audience can kind of understand “Okay this is what you’re going to talk about” in your introduction and then the conclusion “What have we talked about today?” Is there anything that could possibly be mis-construed? No! You’ve kind of made it evident this is what we have and this is what we are going to talk about. You’ve separated those two. And then you will want to tie things together by using a memorable statement. What do you want them to get out of your presentation? Is there going to be a call to action? Do you want them to take that information and go to the next step?

Do you want them to take that information and go to the next step or would you rather them just pondering and kind of wondering about the topic? So this one, I guess my question could be at the end of it, do you really know how to give a presentation now? Now that they have the information given to them, they are actually able to take that to the next step and implement in their own way. Alright, so now that we have that component of disposition arrangement in the second step, we are going to go to the third step which is Style.

How do you want your presentation to look? Do you want it to manifest itself in a scholarly way? Or conversational? Do you want it to be kind of Laissez-faire where it is just kind of runs with everyone and everyone is just kind of tuning into it or do you have a set structure to it? Do you want everyone to kind of feel that it is very serious or do you want them to feel somewhat comical? You can have them feel emotions. These things can be expressed through style. You just want to make sure that you are concise or clear. And you also want to make sure that you use vivid language. If you don’t paint them a picture within your presentation, they kind of can’t follow. You have to give them something to connect it to. And then this brings us to our next step which is Memory.

Anyone know what memory could consist of? It is three components. Repetition. Practice, Practice and more Practice. The more you practice the better you are at presenting your topic and that allows you to not only understand the information but be able to figure our effective way to present that to someone else. You could be presenting to someone that has no idea about the topic. You could be presenting to those that already understand the topic and that way in memory ..with committing that to memory but you don’t have to memorize your entire presentation and that way you can effectively present it to others. And now you kind of have that committed to memory, you move to this last step which is Delivery.

How are we going to present it? This can also incorporate personal experi…personal appearance and how you look to your audience. Are you going to be professional or are you going one step above your audience or are you just kind of in the audience and you just kind of mingle with them and you just dress casually with everyone else ? And these are things that you should use in the delivery. Also eye contact, are you paying attention and interacting with people in your audience? Are you asking questions? These are things to take into consideration, and you also want to watch…, watch out for verbal fillers which can be some “umms” and “likes” and “you know”. Well I don’t like to use you know because the reason I am giving this presentation is because they probably don’t know.

So you want to make sure to avoid verbal fillers at any point in your presentation, and making sure that you have vocal variety. No one likes that Charlie Brown teacher that teaches kind of like “Muah, Muah Muah Muah Muah” Doesn’t kind of peak your interest, does it? Kind of makes you leave the presentation, so make sure you are keeping eye on these things in your presentation and make sure that you avoid them. Now what I would also like to talk to you about are presentation aids. Does anyone know how to effectively use presentation aids?

Does anyone know how to effectively use presentation aids? Or know what they are? [pause] They’re basically how it sounds. They aid your presentation, hence “presentation aids.” And you want to make sure they’re not clashing. You want to make sure that they’re very concise; they’re very neat and organized. You don’t want to use things such as powerpoints that have your entire presentation on it. The reason why we suggest that is because if you have your entire presentation up there on the powerpoint, then what are you for? So you’re actually supposed to give them your presentation, and this is with you being able to explain what’s on the powerpoints because these things are just aiding. So pictures or slight bullet points that can kind of hint at what you want to be talking about and you’ll basically elaborate on those points on that powerpoint. And you want to make sure they’re easy to see! Make sure they’re not too distracting! If they’re too hard to see people won’t pay them attention, and if they’re distracting, nine times out of ten, you’re probably going to get them looking at your powerpoint instead of you! And you’re the main focus of the presentation because you’re the one presenting!

Now that we’ve gone over the five-step process, through invention, disposition and arrangement, style, memory, as well as delivery, we’re going to move on to the orientation stage of this. And this is basically giving you a little bit of information about the speaking center, and how we can help you implement this 5-step process, or even help you along the steps within. I would like to talk to you about 5 components. That’s going to be consultations, we’re going to talk about orientations, we’re going to also talk about workshops, we’re going to talk about online support, as well as contact information, just if you feel like you want to use the speaking center and bring it to the next level, and we can help you there.

So consultations. We have three ways: we have group, where you can come in with a group, and they’re usually about an hour long. You’ll get one to two consultants, depending on your group size. It’s usually one consultant to every three speakers. And those usually an hour, so we can schedule you for that consultation, and you can come in and we’ll actually give you feedback. You can either present, or you can come in for organization. We also have an online speaking center, so if you don’t feel like coming outside, or you don’t feel like leaving your house, we can help you there! They’re usually about thirty minutes. So we help you with your consultation from organization to practice. If you have them pre-recorded and we can actually give you feedback, and allow you to follow along with us because we’ll call you so we can do, not exactly face-to-face, but voice-to-voice and we can work with your presentation that way. We also have individual. Individual consultations are about thirty minutes, and we also do the same as we do with the online speaking center, just face-to-face. Now that you understand a little bit about the consultations, we’re going to go to orientations.

Anyone know what an orientation is? Well that’s actually what I’m doing right now.

So what we would do, is we would come – either if you’re a professor, or a head of your organization – has requested us to do an orientation, we’ll come in, and we’ll kind of give you an understanding of the 5-Step Process like we did, and then we’ll also give you information about the Speaking Center and we can help that particular class, or the organization that has requested it. Then, after orientations we have workshops. Does anyone have speaking anxiety? Get a little nervous in front of people? Have a little trouble organizing? Not exactly sure how to control your non-verbal kind of communication? Alright, well that’s what the workshops are for. Professors can request them for their classes, (depending on the topic they may presenting in their class) and that way we can come and elaborate on those points. Usually for the duration of the class period. We also have Strictly Speaking Workshops. And that’s where we can work on your speaking anxiety.

You can come in and we can help you with your non-verbal communication. We can give you tips and a little bit of an understanding about anything that you’re struggling with, within your presentation, or public speaking. And those are done usually about 1-3 times a month down at our McIver Building, here at UNCG campus. Now that you know a little bit about the workshops and the two components, we’re going to go on to online support. So if you’re not exactly able to come in, or you need some type of quick help, does anyone know some of our online support techniques? If you go to you’re actually able to do ichat. Where you are actually able to speak with a consultant available at the time. Right on the homepage you will see a link where you can actually type a question in, and if that green dot is available then you can speak with someone in a matter of seconds. Any question you have, we’ll answer that in seconds. We also have tip sheets. If you’re not able to come in and you’re struggling with things like parts of a speech, delivery, how you’re going to organize your presentation, we have all those things broken down for you on our website under resources, and the tab “tip sheets.” And that way, you are actually able to get a better understanding of what you were lacking in your presentation or what you need to enhance.

Those are some of the things that you can work with either with our online support, or, asking a question. Now that you know a little bit about our online support, I’d like to give you our contact information. I know these things sound good, but do you know where we are? Or our phone number? Well, the way we like to do our consultations is you call in and schedule them. You can call in at 336-256-1346. And that way, you’re actually able to call in and speak to a consultant at the Speaking Center, and we’re able to schedule you, ask you a few questions, and then you’re set. And we’ll actually give you a reminder the day before so you don’t forget your consultation.

…the day before to let you know so you don’t forget your consultation. We also, at that time you can schedule either that individual, that group, or that online speaking center appointment. And on the online speaking center appointment, the only thing that we request is your phone number so we can do that voice to voice conversation. We are actually located on UNCG’s campus at the corner of Forest and Spring Garden, we’re on the 3rd floor of the MHRA 3211, we’re attached to the writing center so just bear to the left, you’ll find us. And we also have hours of operation, and it would be great to know when you could come, right? Well, Monday through Thursdays, we’re open 10am to 8pm, on Fridays we’re open from 9am to noon, and on Sundays, yes even Sundays, we have 5 to 8. You can come in between those 3 hours if you need to. And in any the other hours and if they don’t work for you, it’s ok to reschedule if you need to.

Just make sure that you call in and we’ll actually be able to aid you if you need any help with making your appointment. So, now that you have this information, what else do you have to keep in mind? (Pause and Shrugs from the audience). Alright, so there was one thing: 2 day policy. We do have a 2 day policy here at the speaking center, but it’s not exactly a bad thing, the reason why we do that is that in those two days before your presentation date, you’re actually able to get feedback and that way, within those two days of your presentation, you’re able to make changes and adjust to those changes. And that way you’ll be able to effectively present that presentation that you’ve been working hard on and that you’ve come in to get help with. And that means, no you don’t have to come 2 days before, but at least 2 days before that kind of gives us the range between then. And if you need any outside help, if it’s not just a presentation that you have, you can come in, we do interpersonal, those things like anxiety or communication skills, those are the things you can come in for as well. You don’t have to just have a presentation, so feel free to partake in any of the multiple services that we offer for you and we hope to see you at the University speaking center.

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