There are always two distinct roles at play when speaking. The audience has a passive role and the speaker has an active one. This is an essential dynamic. Audience and speaker communicate well with each other to the degree that they both understand and respect this dynamic. They are not to be confused or interchanged.
a) Creating a sense of place and space is also the speaker’s responsibility. Making visual and tactile contact with the room, distances, volumes, shape light, object, furniture, ourselves, others, etc. It anchors our focus in the physical world, which has the grounding effect we desire.
b) Presentations, scores of actions and everything in a public performance must possess a forward and revealing quality. Speakers must reveal, not hide. Any attempt to hide disrupts and ultimately breaks down communication.
c) Always make sure your energy is free to operate in the direction of your choices. In other words, provide more energy than you think you need. Choice and actions is where we discharge our energy. The clearer the choice, the easier it becomes to commit. The more the two will interact and feed each other, the better the chances to succeed.
d) Beware of apology, self-pity, journalizing, dramatizing, mocking, demeaning, and explaining as visible means of communication. It usually spells disaster. The same goes for any form of making wrong onto the audience. The same applies to overt or covert anger. These are traps and/or very poor choices. Sometimes a speaker simply does not realize that his or her performance contains these forms of expression. He or she should be aware of the devastating effect it has on an audience. The only exceptions naturally are when the speaker who apologizes, explains or views himself as a victim or comments on his behaviour as a way to illustrate, entertain or make a point.
e) A speaker always dominates or controls the scene or stage and the audience. He or she does so through skills, actions, technique (which is the execution of actions) and his or her ability to believe in what he or she is doing. A speaker-audience relationship is dynamic which has to be understood and respected well to avoid problems. It is the speaker who is in control and commands attention, not the other way around.
f) Avoid catering to an audience or trying to draw them in artificially. They will turn their backs on you. Be watchful of moods or attitudes. You may wish for your speech to feel good and that’s legitimate; try to accomplish that through genuine actions not an attitude. An attitude is always the result of something. It is a second-rate choice unless we intended the attitude as entertainment. If you play the mood it will spell backward: DOOM.
g) When a speaker makes a mistake, he or she mustn’t draw attention to it. Simply move on. When a speaker gets tense, shy, uncomfortable, anxious and so on, he or she must simply hide it by:
- Committing to his or her actions
- Doing nothing.
If we get tense or nervous it’s not the audience’s fault. There are effective ways to remedy it quickly and without being noticed.
- publicspeakingtip.org/public-speaking/children-learn-public-speaking (accessed 10/06/2009)
- http://www.haven-oakland.org/speakersbureaupacket.pdf (accessed 12/06/2009)
- http://ezinearticles.com/?Public-Speaking-Manners—Etiquette-Issues&id=948478 (accessed 15/06/2009)