NUGGETS 006: STRATEGIES FOR AN EFFECTIVE SPEECH
(from my new book, Public Speaking Nuggets)
Let me introduce you to the series, “How can I deliver an effective speech? How do I present a speech that wows?”
I will, one step at a time, one nugget at a time, talk you through 10 time-tested strategies for effective public speaking. First, a story.
I remember the first time I practised public speaking. I was a member of the Boys Brigade Nigeria, 2nd Oyigbo Company, Rivers State. Our captain asked me to give a brief word of exhortation to about 20 fellow brigade members.
I stood in front of everyone. I opened my King James Version of the Holy Bible. I read a verse. I looked up. And I saw 1,000,000 pair of eyes! You understand? I didn’t see about twenty members of the Boys Brigade. I saw a million pair of eyes! I coughed nervously.
Suddenly, hot sweat beaded my forehead. My Bible-holding hands began to shake like dogonyaro leaves in a windy afternoon. I looked at the verse again. Sweat poured down on my open Bible. One stupid boy in my audience coughed in jest. Another boy snickered. Another suppressed a laugh. The stupid cough, the idiotic snicker, the suppressed laughter were all directed at ME. *I have suffered!*
What did I do next?
I just stood there and looked stupid.
I wanted to speak but no words came.
I wanted to cry but no tears came.
Hey friend, does the above scenario describe your attempt at public speaking? Don’t worry. I’ll talk you through how to overcome glossophobia and PSA.
What’s glossophobia? What about PSA? I’ll tell you in NUGGETS 007.
Hang on to this. The first time-tested strategy of effective public speaking is: prepare, prepare, prepare.
Prepare your speech. Yes, prepare your delivery.
You know the 5 Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
Talk to you again. Soon.
Be inspired. Stay inspired!
NUGGETS 007 by Mazi Eze (ME)
HOW TO OVERCOME GLOSSOPHOBIA AND PUBLIC SPEAKING ANXIETY
I said I’ll talk you through how to overcome glossophobia and use PSA to your advantage.
Glossophobia is the excessive fear or irrational fear or out-of-proportion fear of public speaking.
Very many people suffer from glossophobia. They always want to avoid any situation that will warrant them to speak in public. Truth is, avoiding a problem does not solve the problem. Confronting the problem of glossophobia, to a large extent, does solve the problem. How? I’ll tell you shortly.
PSA means Public Speaking Anxiety. It refers to the anxiety, fear or nervousness you feel when you’re about to present a speech to an audience.
PSA is normal. That’s just the way humans are wired psychologically. PSA could manifest as stage fright or mike fright. Stage fright means the nervous feelings you experience just before your appear in front of an audience. Mike fright is the anxiety you experience just as you receive the microphone to speak to an audience.
I did mention that the very first time-tested strategy for effective public speaking is: prepare, prepare, prepare. To overcome glossophobia, prepare your speech. Prepare your delivery.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. 5 Ps.
Poor preparation precedes poor performance. Another 5 Ps.
Oh, I just love alliteration: repetition of word-initial consonants in a string of words. Go ahead, say either of the above expressions repeatedly to yourself when you’re engaged to speak to any audience. Then start preparing.
Do some research on a given or chosen topic. Sometimes, the organizers of a particular programme will give you a topic to speak on. Other organizers may allow you to choose your own topic. I prefer to choose my own topic. But, I don’t shy away from a given topic.
Whether it’s a given or chosen topic, you’ve got to prepare. Consult books. Read blog posts. Take a trip to cyberspace. Broaden your mind-space. Listen to podcasts. Listen to audio recordings. Watch videos of performances concerning your topic.
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
You are like a GeePee tank. You should be full of water. When you open the tap of oral delivery, your audience should get a cupful or bucketful of water (ideas, information) to go home with. They’ll come again and again to you if they got what they’re looking for. They won’t come again if they came thirsty and leave thirsty or they came hungry and leave hungry. And you know, a hungry man is an angry man especially in a time of recession!
Every audience member comes with a WIIFM Mentality.
Sorry friend, biko, ejoor, ima binu, not here. Hehehehehe. Let’s talk about WIIFM Mentality in NUGGETS 008, biko enyim oma, my good friend. It’s gonna be lengthy; it’s gonna be fun. Firm promise.
Plus, I’ll also explain the second strategy to overcome irrational fear in public speaking. It’s all part of the series, “How can I deliver an effective speech? How do I present a speech that wows?” (I’m enjoying myself here!)
The first strategy is: prepare your delivery.
The second strategy is: STRUCTURE YOUR DELIVERY.
Talk to you again. Soon. Very soon.
NUGGET 008 by Mazi Eze (ME)
HOW CAN I CONQUER NERVOUSNESS IN PUBLIC SPEAKING?
-extracted from my new book, Public Speaking Nuggets
*Mazi Eze is introduced* *walks to the dais* *takes the mike* *begins to speak*
Today I’d like to talk to you about how to conquer nervousness in public speaking. I know I said I will talk about WIIFM mentality. I will, in the next two paragraphs. Or better still, get a copy of my piping hot new book. Hehehehe.
First, lemme say this. I’m so in love with Dale Carnegie’s assertion. He says, “The ability to conquer nervousness and speak with self-confidence is not difficult to acquire. It is not a gift bestowed by Providence on only a few rarely endowed individuals. Everyone can develop his own latent capacity if he has sufficient desire to do so.” I agree.
Now, let’s tune to WIIFM.
WIIFM simply means What’s In It For Me?
Everybody has the WIIFM mentality. Every audience you’re speaking to has that mentality. Think about it.
When students sit patiently or impatiently and grudgingly before a lecturer, they listen with a WIIFM mentality. If there’s little or nothing in a lecture for them (or so they think), they bring out their cell-phone and post messages and selfies on Facebook, Instagram, and Whasapp. Or they quietly gerrout of the lecture-hall. It happens. I once read on my student’s Facebook wall, “Nna meeeen, this lecture is boring” and another person commented with a question, “Which lecturer be dat?”
NB: The lecturer that was mentioned was not ME o!
Mazi Eze is not, will not, shall not, and in fact cannot be boring. Ask my students: Chisom Nlebedum, Nene Nwosu, Hanamel Kingston Onyx, Steve Ogbuewu, Chidinma Eke, Emerald Nduke, Akuro Amieyeofori, Daniel Clinton, Onyebuchi Timothy, Praiz Onyee, Ogonnah Ejezie, Amarachi Ochomma, to mention but a few. *mek una no fall my hand o!* *lol* *toothy grin*
When members of an audience attend AY Live or Basket Mouth Unplugged or Opa Williams’ A Night of a Thousand Laughs (what happened to this comedy programme?), they assemble with the WIIFM mentality. They want to be entertained; they want a good laugh. That’s what’s in it for them. They want to laugh.
A good comedian/comedienne is someone who cracks jokes that make an audience roll on the floor laughing out loud (ROTFLOL). You know, standup comedy is a type of public speaking. Oh, you didn’t know?
When your audience attends your conference, seminar, workshop, etc, they’re tuned to WIIFM, What’s In It For Me? Therefore, be audience-conscious. Being audience-conscious or being audience-centred is the third strategy in overcoming PSA. It is the third strategy in delivering a speech that wows! Let’s talk about it in NUGGETS 009, okay? Thanks a bunch, buddy!
We already know that the first strategy to conquer nervousness and speak with self-confidence is: prepare your delivery.
The second strategy is: structure your delivery. This means, impose a structure on the speech you’ve prepared. Segment your speech into (a) a topic, heading or headline, (b) an introduction, (c) a torso or body, and (d) a conclusion. Think of your speech as if it were a human being who has a head (introduction) upon which is the hair (topic), and who has a torso (body) and a leg (conclusion)!
This post, NUGGETS 008, contains the ingredients listed above. Look again at the beginning of this post. Can you see the topic? The introduction? Can you see the body from the 2nd paragraph down? And this particular paragraph, ladies and gentlemen, is the conclusion.
In sum, never ever deliver a hairless, headless, torsoless, or a legless speech! Don’t forget, I did say we’ll discuss being audience-conscious or being audience-centred in NUGGETS 009.
Till I come your way again soon, stay tuned to this frequency for another interesting episode.
Your presenter and speech coach is Mazi Eze (ME).
PS: Somebody said I should have a website. And run a blog. How does that operate? Hey, help a brother here!
*smh, chuckling* *drops the mike; leaves the dais* *a standing ovation*
NUGGET 010 by Mazi Eze (ME)
Question: HOW CAN I WOW MY AUDIENCE?
Answer: STAY AUDIENCE-CENTRED!
Question: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Audience-centred public speaking refers to the kind of performance where you analyze the expectations and needs of your audience and tailor your speech accordingly.
Your audience has the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) mentality, remember?
In the public speaking business, the audience is king! Therefore, understand your audience’s WIIFM; then, go ahead, treat the audience like royalty. He wants to know how to make money online; explain it to him. She wants to know how to dress ‘to-match’; explain it to her.
I like the way Gary Genard (google him) states it: “Make your listeners’ needs the essence of your focus, and you’ll be more likely to satisfy those needs.”
In agreement, Fela Durotoye says: “The first thing you have to remember is that speaking is not about [you] the speaker, but about the audience. In essence, it’s not what you say that matters, but what they hear.”
In other words, members of your audience want to hear what will add some value to them intellectually. They’re listening to you to hear what will add some money in their pocket. They want to hear what will make them soar in their spiritual life. They want to hear what will tickle their fancy, make them chuckle, smile, or laugh heartily.
Your audience want to hear something that will add something positive to their personal development. It’s not about you; it’s about your audience!
Research the demographics and psychographics of your audience. Demo-gini? Hehehehehehe. I’ll explain both terms in NUGGET 011.
PS: Hey! I’m about to launch my newly-built school/ academy.
Check it out at: publicspeakingacademy.online
In a previous post of mine, NUGGET 001, I said:
“I aim at building a website, a virtual school where I’ll teach soft skills such as public speaking, emceeing, writing skills, grammar skills, among others. Teaching is my passion. Public speaking is my favourite pastime.
I hope you’ll hang out with ME here on cyberspace. Together, we’ll change our public speaking world, one nugget at a time.”
Now, check out the website at: publicspeakingacademy.online
Shoot ME any comments/ remarks/ criticisms. I’ll reply YOU!
Be inspired; stay inspired!
By the way, this is my first post in 2017. Therefore, permit ME to say:
NUGGET 009 by ME
HOW TO DEFEND YOUR FINAL YEAR PROJECT OR LONG ESSAY
*Dedicated to my Project Students/Supervisees
I did say I’ll, in this episode, talk about audience-consciousness or audience-centredness. Sorry. I’m very sorry to shift it to NUGGETS 010 for a reason. This is the season of final year project defence in some universities. NUGGETS 009 might be of help to some student somewhere. Catch?
Just last week, my undergraduate project students/supervisees underwent a viva voce. What’s a viva voce? I’ll tell you. This nugget is inspired by Lilian Omosigho who asked, “Mazi, how can I face the external examiner and other members of the defence panel?”
Viva voce means a spoken or oral exam. Viva voce is a kind of public speaking. Essentially, it’s that kind of speech which a university student gives to defend a final year project, a thesis or dissertation. It’s also known as a viva or project defence.
The practice is that the student has to sit before a panel comprising an external examiner, the Head of Department, and some departmental lecturers, and answer questions concerning the topic he or she worked on.
This year, in the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt, the external examiner/assessor was Prof Damian Opata, a no-nonsense, thoroughbred scholar from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Also in the panel were our own Drs Ikenna Kamalu, Stephen Anurudu, Tambari Dick, Oyeh Otu, Vincent Obobolo, among others. Profs Omolara Ogundipe, Nkem Okoh also put in an appearance. *in Naijaspeak* ME, I also dey there live. *wide toothy smile*
Moments before the panel sat, Lilian Omosigho asked ME, “How can I face the external examiner and other members of the defence panel?”, I smiled, and gave her the simple strategies I’ve been talking about (or I’m going to talk about) in this forum.
1. Prepare your delivery.
2. Rehearse your delivery.
3. Visualize your delivery.
4. Stay audience-conscious. This word again!
5. Deliver or speak with passion.
In your delivery, Keep It Short, Simple, Clear and Straightforward: KISS-CS. Be real; don’t fake a foreign accent. You won’t be able to sustain the fakeness in the next five, ten minutes. You’ll be asked questions that’ll circle around your project topic, your theoretical framework, the scope of your study, your contribution to scholarship/knowledge, etcetera.
Let me illustrate with the following:
Question: What topic did you work on?
Answer: The topic of my research is The Language of Emoticons on Facebook.
It is all about xyz. (talk about the topic briefly)
Question: What’s your theoretical framework?
Answer: The theoretical framework I used is Computer Mediated Discourse which has to do with xyz. (explain what the theory is all about)
Question: What’s your contribution to knowledge?
Answer: To the best of our knowledge, this long essay is a fresh attempt to situate emoticons as a distinct language and vehicle to convey the temperaments, emotions of language-users on Facebook.
Trust me, project or long essay defence is NOT a death sentence. It’s a simple exercise. Walk into the room confidently. Greet the examiner and panel members. Sit yourself down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Get ready. Set. Go!
It’s all over. Congratulations!
Be inspired; stay inspired!
Mazi Eze (ME)
The Ordinary Speech
Apart from the monotonous speech, there’s also the ORDINARY SPEECH.
The ordinary speech is simply what it is: an ordinary sort of speech.
The ordinary speech is the kind of speech that barely keeps an audience awake while it lasts. Just that. Why?
Check your dictionary. Ordinary means not unusual; not different in any way.
Ordinary refers to having no striking or interesting features; not satisfactory. Ordinary is synonymous with second-rate, commonplace, not very good.
I’m repeating the word, ‘ordinary’ for emphasis.
Ordinary public speakers, teachers, preachers, lecturers are run-of-the-mill; they’re just average; they’re mediocre. Who wants to a mediocre?
Joseph Heller was joking when he said *in William Shakespeare’s baritone*: ” Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them.” *I’m SMH, chuckling*
Ordinary public speakers seem to go on and on while the audience manages to stay awake. And at the end of a presentation, one audience member can be heard asking another member of the audience, “Wetin the speaker talk sef?” “What was the topic of the lecture?” That’s how bad an ordinary speech can be.
There’s something better than the ordinary speech. You want to know what it is, yes?
Talk to you later, in Nuggets 005.
-Mazi Eze ME
The Monotonous Speech
Do you remember ever dozing off in high school or secondary school during a lecture? I don’t blame you. The lecture/ lesson could have bored you stiff. Or it could have been a baking hot afternoon. Or both.
I have listened to many monotonous teachers, lecturers and other public speakers. And I’m convinced that a monotonous speech is the kind of speech that puts people to sleep.
You want to live long in the world of public speaking, yes?
Then learn the meaning of these related terms: monotone, monotony, monotonous. Please, put them far away from your public speaking performance.
Monotone refers to a dull speech. It is a boring way of speaking in which your tone remains flat and your volume stays the same while you deliver a speech/ lecture.
Monotony is the most common, original affliction of any public speaker, teacher, lecturer. It robs your speech of power. Refuse to be afflicted! A cursory observation reveals that most teachers suffer from monotony. They seem to drone on and on till the end of a 1-hour or 2-hours’ lecture. Conversely, most preachers do not suffer from monotony; they’re lively and engaging. Are you with ME?
The monotonous speech puts people to sleep.
You want to reign and live long in the world of public speaking? Avoid monotony. Avoid the monotonous speech.
You will live long!
Till I come your way again soon, be inspired; stay inspired!
In the school of public speaking, it is often said that you have to talk for free and then for a fee.
This is especially true for beginners.
I used to emcee occasions for free. But now, I do it for a fee.
I used to teach my neighbourhood children for free. Now, I teach/lecture at the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt for a fee.
Work hard. More importantly, work smart. Be patient. Anything worthwhile takes a while to be worth something.
Work smart. Polish your soft skills. ‘Soft skill is the new hard skill’, according to my good friend, Francis Nwagbara. Public speaking is a soft skill.
Soft skills are those skills which you learn through hands-on, practical experience. They’re such skills which are developed through participating in short courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.
I’ll be dishing out a whole lot of stuff here for free. Yes, free of charge (FOC). I aim at building a website, a virtual school where I’ll teach soft skills such as public speaking, emceeing, writing skills, grammar skills, among others. Teaching is my passion. Public speaking is my favourite pastime.
I hope you’ll hang out with ME here on cyberspace. Together, we’ll change our public speaking world, one nugget at a time.
Talk to you shortly,
Mazi Eze (ME).
(from my new book, Public Speaking Nuggets)
I’m convinced that there are three (3) categories of a public speech:
the monotonous speech,
the ordinary speech,
the effective speech.
Which one will you choose?
What kind of speaker will you wish to be?
As for ME, I choose to be an effective speaker. I choose to be a speech coach. I choose to change my public speaking world, one person at a time, one nugget at a time.
I’m convinced that you’re not wired to be monotonous. You’re not wired to be ordinary. You’re wired to be effective in public speaking! I’ll show you how to be effective as a public speaker: teacher, lecturer, pastor, emcee, stand-up comedian, etcetera.
Stay with ME.
-Mazi Eze (ME)