When you have to deliver a public speech or a presentation, you don’t just go on the podium and speak in an impromptu manner, right? Your speech needs to be structured and have a specific pattern so that your audience can easily identify the message you are trying to convey. The way you map out your speech by using a particular pattern ultimately decides the outcome of your communication.
Though there are many patterns you can follow for your speech (you can even come up with some unique ones of your own), here are some time-tested ones that have been used time and again with great success in public speeches and presentations:
When information in your speech follows a certain time sequence or you want to narrate something from a historical perspective, then the pattern should be chronological.
For example, if you want to outline the development of a company, then begin from the time when it came into inception, and gradually highlight its milestones, achievements and its journey to the present.
Or, if you are narrating about a particular person, then chronicle their journey from birth, where they grew up, how different factors affected their ideology and how they came to be the person that they are.
#5 Problem – Solution
The problem-solution or cause-effect pattern is another effective way to make an impactful public speech. In this pattern, you detail a problem to the audience and then implore them to subscribe to that particular viewpoint.
You eventually put forth several points that increasingly make the problem seem like something that should be dealt with ASAP.
Once you have done that, you need to provide a solution for the same that includes a recommended action plan.
For example, you can highlight the problem of the increasing divorce rates among the youth and how it is damaging the social fabric of our country. You can then present a solution in the form of counselling sessions as well as the legal hurdles and headaches that can ensue if people decide to opt for divorce at the drop of a hat.
This is one of the most common organizational patterns used for a presentation. When there are several ideas that can be included under one umbrella topic such that they are all interconnected with each other in one way or the other, then the logical or topical pattern is used.
For example, if you want to describe the functioning of a knowledge processing outsourcing (KPO) company, then you have to detail the different departments such as:
Banking and financial
The functioning of these departments will be interconnected with each other as well as to the company itself (the umbrella), and the information can flow in a logical manner while you are delivering the presentation.
#3 Extended Metaphors
Using extended metaphors or analogies in your speech is a very effective way to present your ideas in a way that has a very high recall value for the audience. They have been used by famous personalities throughout history.
“No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America’s new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.”
By creating an analogy between a super-condensed version of human history and the rapid pace of technology in a short time, Kennedy showcased that space travel was just a leap away.
When you have to clearly specify how two or more things are different from each other, then the comparative organizational pattern is used.
For example, if you want to lay out the difference between iOS and Android operating systems, or specify how your company’s product or service is better than others, then you can highlight the pros and cons of both. Based on this information, this will help your audience understand and decide what decision to take
This style of speech organization is often used in the travel industry where you have to describe things according to different physical and geographical locations.
For example, if you are offering a tour package to an audience for Jaipur, then you will describe historical landmarks like Amer fort, Bhangarh fort, various eateries and cafes, as well as places of cultural extravaganza like Chokhi Dhani. For those who have never visited Jaipur before, they can get a sense of what places they will be visiting if they have an idea of ‘things to do’ according to a specified regional map.
“In an orator, the acuteness of the logicians, the wisdom of the philosophers, the language almost of poetry, the memory of lawyers, the voice of tragedians, the gesture almost of the best actors, is required. Nothing therefore is more rarely found among mankind than a consummate orator.” ~ Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero is widely regarded as one of the greatest orators of all time, and when it comes to the power of oration, he is mentioned in the same breath as Demosthenes. A Roman statesman and man of letters, Cicero became a powerful figure in Greece solely on the basis of his power of prowess at public speaking and his ability to deliver a stirring public speech that could inspire and motivate the audience.
His career has been marked by many highlights, with the orations against the Roman senator Catiline being the most seminal ones.
Cicero’s Strategy To Create an Impactful Speech
According to Cicero, there were five main elements that speakers should work around to deliver a persuasive speech. These elements are:
First of all, you need to ask yourselves what is the goal of your speech. Once you have narrowed down on the key message, you can generate different ideas and points to construct the edifice of your message. The evidentiary proof and reference points can eventually be added around your main points.
This revolves around how well you structure your speech around the main components – Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Your points should be arranged in the most impactful manner with the appropriate amount of signposting so that it is clear, well-structured, and creates an immediate and lasting impact on the audience.
This pertain to the style you adopt for your language. The words you use should be clear, vivid, and create a strong, positive impact on the audience. You need to rehearse well and read it out loud so that the speech seems pleasing to you. You also need to be clear on the rhetorical devices you use – statistics, storytelling, quotes, visual-aids etc. Structure them all together so that they are interwoven into a cogent and coherent text.
Create mind maps so that you can easily connect every aspect of your speech. Your research should be thorough and all quotes, facts, and statistics should be memorized by heart so that you don’t cut a sorry figure during the Q&A.
This is the actual part of delivering a speech. This encompasses everything – your body language, facial expressions, your voice modulation, intonation et al. Pace your speech properly. Maintain eye contact. Make sure your pronunciation is correct.
Structure The 5 Elements Around This 2000-Year Old Technique By Cicero
This six-part technique by Cicero in the dialogue “De Oratore” (“On the Orator”) written in 55 BCE, outlines how speakers can master the art of powerful of persuasion, and also provides an effective framework for debates and arguments.
Introduction – Establishing credibility with the audience.
Narration – State your points in a clear and concise manner.
Division – Explain the other side of the argument.
Proof – State your evidence, point by point.
Refutation – Address the arguments of your opponent.
Conclusion – Reserve your strongest points or recap the most potent arguments from your content to inspire the audience.
Writing, Oratory, and Legacy
Cicero was trained in three Greek philosophical schools: the Stoicism of Lucius Aelius Stilo and Didotus, the Epicureanism of Phaedrus and the skeptical approach of Philo of Larissa, head of the New Academy. This had a significant impact on his philosophical understanding, which he considered to be of paramount importance for mastering oratory. His writings, which mainly constitute speeches, letters and treatises, have been analyzed and admired by several generations. This is a testament of his lasting legacy. His ideas, thoughts, and turn of phrases were borrowed by later Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke, David Hume, Montesquieu and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, the famous first century Roman critic Marcus Fabius Quintilianus said that Cicero was “the name, not of a man, but of eloquence itself.”
An important client visit is scheduled for the next day.
Your manager has to give a presentation detailing the entire process, in order to attract client investment for future projects.
And DISASTER strikes!
The manager has become indisposed due to a sudden illness, accident or pressing family matters. The onus is now upon you to deliver the presentation!
Panic sets in. You have less than 24 hours to prepare the presentation, and even fewer to rehearse for it.
What should be done?
Here are some effective tips to help you out:
1. Find the crux of the presentation and make short notes on the same
Due to the lack of time, there is no way you will be able to explain the presentation in detail. If you understand your process well, then note down the major talking points and create short notes on the same. You can refer to them whenever you feel there is something you don’t recall properly. The key points should cover all the core details of your presentation.
2. Rehearse with comfortable information
What does this mean? Since time is scarce, you should work with the information you feel comfortable with. Don’t delve deep into intricate and technical details because there is a high possibility that you could fumble or cut a sorry figure while attempting to explain the same. Rehearse with this information several times with your team.
3. Prepare short slides
This is a no-brainer. Any text-heavy slide will not only alienate the audience, but also become overwhelming to present. Keep your slides simple, preferably with a single image and some text with high recall value. E.g. “Most profitable quarter in last five years”.
4. Prepare a powerful start and ending
Though your presentation should go well if you prepare it as per the above points, there is a chance it could go south if the client asks a difficult question out of the blue. To offset any damage, make sure you end on a convincing note.
There have been many great speakers in the corporate world, but none have been as enigmatic and dynamic as the late Steve Jobs. Regarded as a master storyteller and a presenter extraordinaire, Jobs left audiences mesmerized with his brilliant keynote presentations, weaving magic with his words as he sold them an experience that inspired and informed, rather than peddling some tedious spiel.
Till date, Jobs’ presentations (especially the iPhone one in 2007) are considered as the standard of excellence regarding how corporate leaders need to communicate. Indeed, the success of Apple can be largely attributed to the brand value Steve Jobs created for the company through his keynotes, ensuring a reception akin to a rock concert and establishing a legacy for years to come.
[HD] Steve Jobs - iPhone Introduction in 2007 (Complete) - YouTube
However, more germane to the topic are these important tips, derived and analyzed from the style of Steve Jobs’ presentation. Take note!
7. Have a catchy, memorable headline
Jobs had one simple sentence for the historic launch of the iPhone in 2007 – “Apple reinvents the phone”. As he proceeded to explain the benefits the iPhone would have over existing smartphones, everything he said was in sync with the main catchphrase of his keynote i.e. reinventing the phone with cutting-edge technology to create a device that would be leagues ahead of any competition.
6. Be passionate about your topic
It is no secret that Jobs was extremely passionate about design. Any Apple product to be sold had to have amazing design and this was evident from his gushing through the presentation.
“It looks pretty doggone gorgeous,” he said with a wide smile while presenting the iPhone. He was enthusiastic about his idea and the audience loved him for it.
5. Make an emotional connection
Build empathy and connect on a personal level with the audience. Even though the ultimate goal of Steve Jobs was to sell technology to people, he made an emotional connection with them by stressing how beneficial and easy their lives would be with the iPhone. For instance, the only stylus any iPhone user would require would be his/her own hand. By expounding on the benefits through human touch, Jobs made the users feel powerful.
4. Your presentation should be in the palm of your hand
In case you think Jobs just went to the stage without any preparation, then boy, are you in a world of misconception or what. Jobs did not become the best presenter just like that. Endless hours of practice and rehearsals went into making his presentation delivery perfect.
According to Brent Schlender, the co-author of ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’, Jobs would prepare and rehearse for months for public appearances.
“I once spent an entire day watching him run through multiple rehearsals of a single presentation, tweaking everything from the color and angle of certain spotlights, to editing and rearranging the order of the keynote presentation slides to improve his pacing,” said Schlender.
3. Tell a story
Your presentation slides must have minimal words and all the focus of the audience should be on you. Narrate a story that grips the imagination of the audience like Jobs did.
During the iPhone launch, he said: “In 1984, Apple introduced the first Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple. It changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod. It didn’t just change the way we all listen to music. It changed the entire music industry.”
This indicated that some really revolutionary product was going to be released, amping up the excitement of the crowd manifolds. A story ensures that the audience stays invested in your topic
2. Avoid using notes
During the introduction of the iPhone, Jobs only referred to a very short list of bullet points while the demo videos were going on, and these points were hidden from the audience’s view. Rest of the time, he never looked at any note or took the help of a teleprompter, because he had very effectively internalized the content so that everything was smooth as butter.
1. Enjoy and inspire!
Jobs had a whale of a time during the keynote. He was not stiff or serious but enjoyed the entire experience. For example, when first introducing the iPhone, he displayed a pic of an iPod with an old-fashioned rotary dial on it. Another instance was when Jobs demonstrated the maps feature to call a Starbucks and said “I’d like to order 4,000 lattes to go, please. No, just kidding. Wrong number. Bye bye.” The audience responded with uproarious applause and laughter and Jobs enjoyed every moment of it. He also ended his presentation with an inspiring quote from Wayne Gretzky, indicating his excitement over what was a revolutionary product like no other.
In the same way, if you consider your presentation as an opportunity to have a great time with your topic as well as the audience, it will be an instant hit with people. Along with injecting humor, make sure you also include something uplifting that will leave your audience awed and inspired.
Learning English can be a deeply satisfying experience both intellectually and professionally. When you learn English, new avenues open for job opportunities, you becomes more aware of the social and cultural identities of people around the world and how the English language has become the facilitator of communication among people in different countries.
However, there are also some pitfalls of learning the language as you find it increasingly difficult to pronounce the words in the correct manner. There are many factors to this, with mother tongue influence being a leading cause among people in the eastern states of Bihar and U.P., where there is a tendency to utter ‘sh’ as ‘s’.
There are different ways through which you can improve your English pronunciation. There is no short cut and you will have to work diligently on these steps for an extended duration of time to witness long-term gains. Here are some highly effective and useful tips that will help you a lot:
1. Record Yourself Speaking English
A fairly standard method of analyzing your pronunciation is to record yourself speaking and listening to it. Even better? Listen to a passage narrated by a native English speaker and record yourself saying the same passage. Notice the difference between the two pronunciations. Keep practicing and recording until you take the same time and speak in nearly the same manner as the native speaker.
2. Think, Sleep and Breathe English
Immerse yourself completely in learning the English language. Spend as much time possible listening to podcasts, music, TEDx talks, watching movies and TV shows with subtitles and note how their diction varies from yours. Every passing moment, whether you are at home or out with friends, you need to think, sleep and breathe English.
3. Focus on Intonations and Stress
Good and effective pronunciation not only means mastering individual sounds but is also concerned with understanding intonation and stress i.e. the rise and fall of voice, and making certain words sound more loud and clearer than others. For this, you can read poems, speeches and songs in a declamatory manner, either alone or in front of friends.
4. Break Down Into Syllables
Words are made of syllables. If pronouncing a word seems like a difficult task for you, break it down into syllables and try pronouncing each of them separately. Then say it all together slowly and you will eventually find it much easier to speak the word as it is meant to. A good source to study syllables in detail is How Many Syllables.
5. Don’t Try Too Hard, Be Natural
Sometimes, people try too hard to sound every syllable and sound perfectly. This can mess up your confidence and do more harm. Remember, native speakers don’t fret over every vowel or sound but just let it flow naturally. You should also strive to do the same else your vocal chords and mouth will become tensedup when you have to speak.
There are many people who are socially awkward and feel uncomfortable in a room full of strangers. The situation aggravates for them if they have to address that particular unknown audience. Nervousness. Weird body language. Shaky hands. Sweaty palms. Week knees. Social anxiety shoots to the highest levels. It becomes especially a point of concern when the ‘room full of strangers’ is actually your group discussion batch to get admission into a premier B-school. How to be more confident in front of strangers? Here are 5 effective tips that will help you out!
1. Formulate Sentences Beforehand
Envision different scenarios and situations that can arisewhen you interact with unknown people. In a professional or corporate setup, it is possible that there is a certain defined way that the other person would respond. For example, refer to this list of articles for English conversations. You can expect a specific response and formulate sentences beforehand. Spontaneity does not come to everyone, so it helps to make a list of conversation starters!
2. Why, How, To Whom
Identify and study the group you will be addressing. Does it comprise of industry experts? Does it have college or school students? Or corporate professionals? What will you be speaking to them? It is obvious that you will have a different approach for different groups- a professional, formal one for experts and business leaders, and a casual, humor-filled for students.
3. Shed negativity
Most of the time, we are focusing on what others will say or think about us. Remove all negative thoughts and assure yourself of the fact that people are themselves nervous and wary of being judged all the time.
4. Mingle with people
Familiarize yourself withthe surroundingsby mingling with people. Strike up meaningful conversations, put on a friendly smile, and engage in positive interactions. This will help alleviate your uneasiness to a significant extent.
5. Be well-dressed
It is important to be well-dressed all the time when you are out. You never know when you might be called for an important meeting or need to address a group of people. Half of your confidence arises from being well-dressed and a shabbily dressed person is never taken seriously. Good dressing = confidence!
As you hear your name being announced, you start quivering in fear. Sweaty palms. Dry throat. Weak knees. An overwhelming feeling of nausea. You get the perception that you are on a mission to slay a legendary dragon. Nay! The reality is much worse. You suffer from Glossophobia, which means speech anxiety or the fear of public speaking. Slaying a real-life fire-breathing dragon would actually be a less terrifying task than speaking in front of an audience. As you move towards the stage, conscious of a million eyes upon you that scrutinize every movement and detail, ready to bestow the harshest critiques and cruelest taunts at the merest of mistakes, you feel cold and numb. You can’t feel your hands. Your throat is choked. You drag yourself to the podium, feeling half-dead like a zombie, give a frightened look at the audience and let out a whimper- “G-g-g-good m-m-morning all”
This traumatizing experience is common amongst many people who suffer from Glossophobia. Just the thought of going on the stage makes most people break into a sweat. Though the only way to cure yourself of this affliction and instil confidence is regular practice and making frequent public speeches, there are 5 mantras that are immensely helpful in helping you overcome stage fright:
1. “Being a little shameless never harmed anyone”
Yes. You read that right. This doesn’t mean that you should start exhibiting vulgar behavior while on the stage, but demonstrate the willingness to take into stride any ensuing laughter or hooting from the audience. Once you get the ability to laugh at yourself, the audience will laugh along with you. Make some self-effacing jokes or use general humor to break the ice.
2. “Don’t flee away by the shore rather row against the tide”
Do not be overwhelmed by the situation. Even if the odds are against you or the audience is hostile, turn it to your favor by improvising and adapting.
3. “I believe in my content, and so does the audience”
Always do proper research and have confidence in your content. If you can deliver your message across with aplomb then the audience will also have faith in your content.
4. “I am the king of the stage, and the audience are my subjects”
When you speak on the stage, you own it. You address a large group which latches on to every word you utter, listening with rapt attention. Consider this similar to the medieval times when the king addressed his subjects and they listened to him eagerly, with utmost reverence and respect. Once you adopt that mindset, nothing can stop you from conquering your stage fright.
5. “Speaking energizes and excites me”
Make the mic your best friend, and the podium your ship where you are the numero uno, the captain who will sail it through difficult waters. Treat public speaking as a blank canvas where you can use a repertoire of skills to narrate amusing anecdotes, emotionally uplifting incidents, and tales that will leave the audience filled with awe and wonder. Be excited about the prospect of sharing your knowledge and experiences with a large group, among which there will probably be individuals who can relate to it on a personal level. Always think of the chance to make a difference in the lives of people through public speaking.
We live in an era where apps like Tinder and TrulyMadly have made dating a quotidian exercise. With merely a swipe of the phone, you can hook up with a person in a matter of a few minutes. However, meeting a person in flesh and blood is vastly different from connecting with someone online.
With a slew of filters and photo editing apps available, one can easily come across as a glamorous celebrity on the internet, while reality could be quite disappointing. Another aspect where there can be a stark disparity between your online persona and real-life personality is communication skills. You might come across as suave, sleek and humorous onscreen, while in real life, you could be a meek and shy person, detached from the social niceties and etiquette.
To make your life easier, here is a lowdown of how you should behave on your first date. Remember, don’t be clingy or creepy!
Siddharth: Hello there! You are Tanvi, right?
Tanvi: Hey Siddharth! So cool to meet you finally.
Siddharth: So what’s up!
Tanvi: I am good. Everything is great. How about you?
Siddharth: I am awesome as usual.
Tanvi: I am really glad I finally got to meet someone on Tinder who is a fan of Game of Thrones.
Siddharth: Me too! Otherwise, most girls were into Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey only.
Tanvi: So who is your favorite character? Mine is Jon Snow!
Siddharth: Jon Snow is cool. However, I like Tyrion Lannister the most. His quotes are to die for. And Peter Dinklage is a fantastic actor.
Tanvi: I agree. The entire cast has done a wonderful job, in fact.
What other TV shows do you watch?
Siddharth: There are many that I watch. Friends, Suits, The Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things, Breaking Bad and so on.
Tanvi: Yeah, same here. Most of my free time goes into Netflix.
Siddharth: Hah! Netflix. These streaming services result in a lot of time being wasted, but I don’t mind that at all.
Tanvi: Absolutely. There is nothing better than spending your Sunday watching a Netflix show or curling up in your bed with a nice cup of coffee and a book.
Siddharth: I also love to read. I am a huge fan of fantasy fiction and classic literature. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are my favorites. Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Somerset Maugham, Jules Verne, and HG Wells are among the best authors I have read.
Tanvi: Fantastic! We have a lot to discuss then.
What are your other hobbies?
Siddharth: I love watching movies. I like to paint, travel and am somewhat of an amateur photographer as well.
Tanvi: Wow! I also love to travel. Apart from that, I like writing and dancing. I am a trained Bharatnatyam dancer.
Siddharth: That is wonderful! Have you performed any live shows?
Tanvi: Several, in fact. I will inform you when the date of the next show is out.
Siddharth: You are really talented. I firmly believe a person is so much more than his or her online persona so that’s why I love meeting people!
Tanvi: I fully agree. People waste their time chatting online or pinging random profiles. It’s like they have become slaves to the machine.
Siddharth: Indeed. We spend our time more online than in the real world!
Tanvi: If I may dare ask, how many siblings do you have?
Siddharth: An elder brother and a younger sister. Brother is a medic with the U.N. Peacekeeping forces and sis is pursuing her engineering.
Tanvi: Wow! That is really amazing. I have just a younger brother. He is pursuing his graduation in commerce, but also wants to be a singer!
Siddharth: Superb! Nowadays, kids are going beyond the conventional domains of medicine, engineering and law to pursue alternate careers. Welcome change from the mindset of the yesteryear.
Tanvi: I agree. So do you want to go to a nice café or something?
Siddharth: Sure! Let’s go. We will have a nice cup of coffee and then talk.
Quotidian = Of or occurring everyday
In flesh and blood = An actual, living person
Social niceties = Good manners, being polite, and doing what is socially acceptable in society.
Air pollution is a persistent problem faced by the people of Delhi. At times, the air becomes so chock-full of dust and smoke that you can literally swallow it. The situation worsens during the winter season when the miasma of smog cloys around the environment, making conditions nearly unlivable. Breathing and lung problems become common, with kids and the elderly suffering the most. Since air pollution is such a recurring issue in Delhi, you sooner or later find yourself discussing the same with a friend. Here is how a dialogue or English conversation goes down on this topic:
Shivani: Hi Rajat, how are you?
Rajat: Hi Shivani, I am good. Did you see the pollution levels today?
Shivani: Yes, I was going to discuss that only. The situation is worsening by the day.
Rajat: Unbelievable. What is the government doing? Every year, we have to face the same problem.
Shivani: Right. Vehicular pollution, crop burning, rampant construction activities and incessant bursting of firecrackers has led to this. I can only shudder to think what would happen post Diwali.
Rajat: I agree. There should be some sort of check on this. People are suffering and no concrete steps are being taken.
Shivani: Tell me. I haven’t gone to office for the past couple of days. Working from home. Grandparents have developed a terrible breathing problem and need to take care of them.
Rajat: Whoa! That sounds serious. Have you got them admitted? I got my younger brother admitted to RML Hospital. His asthma condition has deteriorated over the last week.
Shivani: That is awful. Please take care of him. I wanted to ask- which are the air purifiers available in the market? And can you also please suggest some good oxygen masks?
Rajat: I guess you can go for a Honeywell air purifier. Been using it since the past few months. And a Dettol oxygen mask will do the task.
Shivani: Oh thank you! I will need to go out after a few days and from the looks of it, seems impossible without a mask.
Rajat: I agree. It is like a gas chamber out there. A report said that it is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes daily!
Shivani: Hmm. I guess I will have to shift out of Delhi after I get married. This is no place to raise a family. Every other kid I know has developed some sort of breathing problem.
Rajat: I am planning the same. Will ask for a transfer to Bangalore. By the way, have you seen the petition doing the rounds on Change.org, asking the CM to take immediate action to alleviate the pollution problem?
Shivani: Yeah, I signed it. Does anything good ever come out of these petitions? I doubt it.
Rajat: One can only hope.
Shivani: Thanks again, Rajat. Take care of your family. I am hoping it rains soon. At least, we will be able to breath.
Rajat: Fingers crossed. Let’s hope the monsoon arrives early. Take care of your family. Bye!