Mastering the Art of Public Speaking: Tips and Techniques for Effective Presentations – Part 2

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Welcome to part two of our three-part series on enhancing your presentation skills. In the first part, we discussed seven key elements that can help you become a more effective speaker, from proper preparation to physical appearance.

In this second part, we will delve deeper into some other important aspects of public speaking. These include capturing and maintaining the attention of your audience, fluency in speech, effective use of mannerisms, timing and eye contact, and the use of hyperbole and questions to engage your listeners.

By incorporating these techniques into your presentations, you will be able to connect with your audience more effectively and leave a lasting impression. So let’s dive in and explore these essential elements of successful public speaking.


What It Is

To capture the attention of your audience is to have their heart, soul, ear and mind focused; their eyes are fixed on you as they give you undivided attention throughout the period of your presentation. It involves keeping them thinking along the track of your discussion—reasoning, raising questions, arriving at possible answers or anticipating answers to the raised questions.

How to Go About It

Open with an effective illustration. Be coherent and show empathy. Draw analogies and use similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and on. Maintain eye contact with your audience. Use good connectives.  Let your mood reflect the content of your presentation. Employ appropriate gestures and let smile work for you.


What It Is

It is the ability to keep a presentation going without unnecessary pauses. A fluent speaker speaks without groping for words—flows with words and thoughts which are expressed almost effortlessly. A fluent speaker is always ready with words.

How to Go About It

Think clearly and practice your material in advance. Enrich your vocabulary by reading and looking up new words in the dictionary and using them in your daily conversation. Don’t think of the words to use, rather think and concentrate on the idea or thought you intend to convey. Quite too often, words come just like that as you begin to express your thoughts.

To be a fluent reader, you must read aloud the material over and over again before you present it to your audience. Make a practice of sight-reading—see words in company—phrases and incomplete sentences should be simplified or split into single words. This calls for three important things: Practice! Practice! Practice!


What It Is

This is a person’s peculiar way of saying and doing things. For instance, many people have the mannerism of inserting such expressions as “and-uh” when they speak. Others frequently start a thought with “now,” or they tack a phrase, such as “you know” or “you see,” on to whatever they are saying.  Perhaps you are unaware of the frequency with which you use such expressions.  Some people read and speak with numerous regressions. That is, they begin a sentence and then interrupt themselves midway and repeat at least a portion of what they already said.  Still, others speak rapidly enough, but they start with one line of thought and then, mid-sentence, shift to something else.

How to Go About It

If your problem is that you often grope for the right word, you need to make a concerted effort to build up your vocabulary.

Take special note of words that are unfamiliar to you in the publications that you may be reading. Look these up in a dictionary, check their pronunciation and their meaning, and add some of these words to your vocabulary. If no dictionary is available to you, ask for help from someone who speaks the language well. Making it a practice to read aloud regularly will contribute to improvement. Take note of difficult words, and say these aloud several times.


What It Is

This is the time allotted to your presentation. The time starts reading from the moment you mount the podium and ends at a given time—when your audience expects you to leave. Depending on what you are expected to present, the time could range from 2 minutes to 1 hour.  A speaker may work within the allotted time, run overtime, or end before the allotted time. When you see those in your audience look at their wristwatch or wall-clock and stop listening attentively to what you are saying, watch it! You are running overtime. They are getting bored.

How to Go About It

Do not exceed the allotted time. Time each portion of your material and stick to the apportioned time. Rehearse your presentation several times and ensure you are within the time allotted. Avoid these two extremes: running overtime or under-time. While overtime bores and makes your audience feel uncomfortable and uneasy, under-time shocks and sometimes embarrasses them.

Overtime is evidence of a lack of preparation or talkativeness. Under-time smacks of ill-preparedness or lack of knowledge in the topic being presented. To avoid either of the extremes, present what is absolutely important and beneficial to your audience and leave out unnecessary materials. Please round off or conclude effectively when the feedback tells you that your time is up.


What It Is

The ability of a speaker to see clearly members of the audience and establish non-verbal communication with them is eye contact. Eye contact means seeing individual members of your audience. It means seeing the expressions on their faces—feedback—and reacting accordingly.

How to Go About It

Isolate an individual in the audience by establishing eye contact with the one and talk to them as if in a one-on-one discussion. This means that you look at someone in the audience and say a couple of sentences to that individual. Again, look at another person and say some more sentences to them, and on.

Do not stare at someone so long that he is embarrassed. Do not concentrate on only a few persons in the entire audience. Keep roaming the audience in this way, but, as you speak to each person, really talk to that one and take note of his reaction before you move to another person. If you are engaged in a manuscript delivery, place your notes on the speakers’ stand or in your hand so that you can look at them quickly—with an eye movement.


What It Is

A hyperbole is a gross exaggeration of something. For instance, “It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.” This is a perfect example of a hyperbole—gross exaggeration. Consider another thought: “Those at the bus station are more than the sand of the sea.” The first example shows how difficult it is for the rich to get into the kingdom. The second example is an exaggerated impossible number of people likely to assemble at any place. Both sentences have one thing in common—gross exaggeration. Hyperbole adds color to your presentation.

How to Go About It

Think. Think. Think. It takes skill and a wealth of experience to come up with an effective hyperbole. Move from what is common among your audience to something they may not know or use two things they are familiar with to draw comparisons that spell excitement, and danger, which enhances the imagination of your listeners.

Think in terms of how difficult, easy, impossible, dangerous, exciting, a thing could be when propounding a hyperbole. For example, you may say, it’s easier for a man to become pregnant than for Janet to conceive a child. This shows how difficult or impossible it is for Janet to become pregnant, since it’s impossible for a man to conceive a child under normal conditions.


What It Is

Questions are the most effective tool used to search the heart, discern thoughts and motives, get information, and on. There are rhetoric questions, open-ended questions, awkward questions and on. Questions are used to test listening and comprehension skills. How do you want to use questions during your presentation?

How to Go About It

In public speaking or presentations, we use rhetorical questions to help our audience to reason and follow through the discussion. Rhetoric questions are asked and no audible answers are required from the audience.

Use questions to measure the attentiveness of your listeners. For example, the great teacher said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?” this helps his listeners to think on the possibility or unreasonableness of what he said and either accept or reject it. Questions help people to think and arrive at conclusions.


In conclusion, the techniques we’ve explored in this second part of our series can help you take your public speaking to the next level. By mastering the art of capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention, maintaining fluency, and effectively utilizing mannerisms, timing, eye contact, hyperbole, and questions, you will be able to engage your listeners and deliver a more impactful presentation.

As we move on to the final part of our series, we will discuss even more essential elements of successful public speaking, including the use of similes and metaphors, honouring and respecting your audience, reflecting the right mood, using humour and smiling, handling feedback, handling distractions, and effectively using logic.

By applying the tips and techniques discussed in this series, you will be well on your way to becoming a confident, engaging, and effective public speaker. Continue Reading Here: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking:  Tips and Techniques for Effective Presentations – Part 3.


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