Factors That Make Up Effective Public Speaking: Technique and Integrity or Virtue
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Factors That Make Up Effective Public Speaking: Technique and Integrity or Virtue

Speech does not exist in isolation but exists between speaker and audience bound by a common desire to exchange ideas, consequently, the necessary requirements in a speech act are: a speaker, an audience, and an occasion. The acceptability of a public speaker to his audience is dependent upon his integrity as indicated by his moral virtues.
                confident public speaker

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Speech does not exist in isolation but exists between speaker and audience bound by a common desire to exchange ideas, consequently, the necessary requirements in a speech act are: a speaker, an audience, and an occasion.

Integrity or Virtue

The acceptability of a public speaker to his audience is dependent upon his integrity as indicated by his moral virtues. Cato defined an orator as "a good man skilled in speaking." Should a public speaker be a good man? Undoubtedly, people will believe in a good man more quickly than a man whose motives are questionable. Not all things can be proven and for this reason, we have to take the word of a speaker for much that he says.

Sincerity and moral integrity are qualities that will endear a speaker to his audience and will make him influential to them. For this reason, a speaker must adhere to truth and must not be afraid to communicate facts that are actual and true. Sincerity will prompt a speaker to disagree with opinions known to be held by the audience. Sincerity and moral integrity will help a speaker not to pander to his audience because he knows that if he panders his audience he loses his identity and his usefulness is soon over. People will readily believe a speaker whose name and reputation are without stain and are above moral reproach, whose motives are unselfish, unquestionable, free from personal gains, and altruistic.

Audiences dislike speakers who say one thing and think another for personal gain, or think one thing and say another for fear of the listeners. As Albert J. Beveridge says on this point: "Never under any circumstance or for any reward tell an audience what you yourself do not believe in or are even indifferent about. To do so is immoral and worse - it is to be a public liar."

                     effective public speaking

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Technique

The spirit of communication unites the speaker and the audience in their desire to exchange ideas. For this reason, public speaking requires a definite audience response caused by direct communication with the audience - the speaker's ability to create an idea in other minds through the stimuli of words, facial expression, and movements. In order to increase his accuracy and power of expression, the speaker must not only learn the techniques of effective speaking but he must also master them. Therefore, the need to cultivate a highly individual technique to demonstrate the art and the craft of effective and successful public speaking.

In public speaking, techniques consist of the elements of speech and action which orally and visually represent the speaker's thought and communicate it to the audience. These elements of techniques are:

  • Voice - the sound produced by the vibration of the vocal cords.
  • Voice pitch - the highness or lowness of tone.
  • Voice volume - the loudness or carrying power of voice.
  • Voice quality - that which distinguishes one voice from another when pitch, volume, and duration are the same. For instance, a voice may be hoarse, nasal, mellow, etc.
  • Speech rate and pause - consists of the number of words uttered per minute and the cessation of speaking within or between sentences.
  • Enunciation and pronunciation - the formation of voice into words and the manner of utterance of words.
  • Gestures - involve the movements of arms, shoulders, hands or head in the physical expression of thought.
  • Posture - the position and bearing of the body.
  • Facial expression - the aspect and general appearance of the face.
  • Organization of thought - the logical arrangement of ideas.
  • Composition - manner of formulating ideas into effective sentences.
  • Phrasing - the grouping of words into small units of thoughts.
  • Audience contact - establishing mental contact with the audience by talking to its members.
  • Motivation - the use of appeals and subject matter which are important to the audience and induce audience action.

Ignorance on the part of the speaker of the techniques of good effective communication of ideas will surely handicap him in achieving his objective to create the desired idea in the listeners. Only through a mastery of the techniques of effective speaking can a speaker direct the thought, mood, and action of his audience toward the specific objective chosen by him.

Since speech is the principal medium of exchanging knowledge and opinions among people in their multi-varied activities, public speaking is now a MUST for all would-be professionals. For speaking is a powerful influence, a molding of minds, a changing of group thought through spoken, social intercourse.

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