People have their own connotations about public speaking. Perhaps, these initial thoughts are what keeps you from developing into the best version of yourself. This shouldn’t be the case. Here at Speech Ionizers, we believe that everyone has the potential to be a great public speaker, and the first step into making this a reality is to clear out all negative thoughts about it as much as possible.
Misconception #1: Good public speakers are born
While it is true that some people are indeed just born with the gift of public speaking, it doesn’t mean that you can’t develop it on your own. Public speaking is just like any other skill that can be learned through continuous practice. There are many great programs that offer speech lessons, not to mention speech coaches who are readily available to guide aspirants. Do you think that Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, and other famous speakers were already good the moment they first set their feet on the stage? Perhaps they also started where you are in now — fearful of standing in front of many people, fearful of making a mistake, and fearful of being ineffective. (Read: Fear No More: How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking)
Misconception #2: Public speaking is all about delivery
Again, while it is true that there is power in great delivery, that is not just what solely characterises a good speech. It should also be noted that a good speech can become a great speech if it has insightful content. When we listen to speakers, let’s say a presidential candidate, we don’t just listen to how they say things, but more importantly, on what they say. Content plays a huge part in making a speech interesting, engaging, and effective.
Misconception #3: “I can just read my speech” mindset
Speeches are supposed to be a two-way form of communication. If you are just going to be reading your talk, you might as well just send an email of your presentation to every member of the audience and have them read it at their own convenience. When you read speeches, you kill off any chance of interaction with the audience. It should be a dynamic moment, because it’s necessary to engage your audience to become effective.
Misconception #4: There is nothing you can do about a boring topic
It’s like saying that the topic is hopeless and there is nothing you can do about it. Wrong! As the speaker, it is your job to develop a seemingly uninteresting topic into something that people can find life in. There are many ways you can do that. It’s just about finding the best one that fits your topic and identity as a speaker.
Misconception #5: Memorising the speech can be a great way to survive it
There’s nothing wrong about memorising a speech unless you forget a part of it and you get stuck at that moment trying to remember what it is. Speeches are supposed to be dynamic in nature. When you memorise your speech and you have to give it several times to different audiences, you take away the opportunity to personalise it based on your audience. The best thing to do is familiarise yourself with the outline and use it as key points when giving speeches.
Misconception #6: I have to cover all of my points
You made those points for the full effectivity of your speech. One point supports the other. However, you may not be given the same amount of time for every speaking engagement. In cases like this, you would have to adjust your speech—give fewer points., tell a shorter story. Do whatever it takes to fit your speech, but never, ever rush!
Misconception #7 I have to know all the answers to every question thrown at me
First of all, we are not all-knowing, and second, we can never fully anticipate what kind of questions the audience would ask. If you do not know the answer, it’s completely okay. One way you can solve this is by saying that you don’t know the answer, but you would love to get back to them about it.
These are just a few of the many misconceptions about public speaking. Remember, don’t let them get the most out of you. It will surely surprise you on how easier your life will be when you debunk them and take the first step towards becoming a good public speaker.