Pocket Guide to Public Speaking

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9780130415448: Pocket Guide to Public Speaking

This brief and practical book offers immediate help in preparing and delivering all kinds of oral presentations. It covers the five elements of the speech process and includes guidelines, supporting examples, and practical exercises to reinforce the skills being learned. Chapter topics provide an overview of public speaking, and then outline the methodical process that is the key to effective speaking—research, organization, text, graphics, and delivery. For engineers, sales executives, human resources personnel, scientists, and anyone who wants to build confidence speaking in front of an audience.

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From the Back Cover:

Pfeiffer's Pocket Guide to Public Speaking shows you how to prepare and deliver all types of oral presentations. By following its clear, practical guidelines, you will learn to:

  • Research your audience and topic
  • Organize informative, persuasive, and occasional speeches
  • Use graphics to enhance your presentation
  • Deliver the speech with enthusiasm and clarity
  • Overcome nervousness

This Pocket Guide applies to both academic and on-the-job situations. It shows you how to become a competent speaker—even a great one—by following the "3 P's" of oral communication:

Prepare carefully
Practice often
Perform with enthusiasm

You'll never need another book to help you with one of the most important parts of your job—public speaking.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Good speeches should start by giving listeners three main pieces of information:

  • Purpose: What purpose does the speech have?
  • Importance: What importance does the speech have?
  • Plan: What plan will the speech follow?

It may not surprise you that this PIP formula applies not only to speeches but also to writing—from business proposals to handbooks like this one. So without delay, let's examine the purpose, importance, and plan for this book.

PURPOSE OF THE POCKET GUIDE TO PUBLIC SPEAKING

This little book aims to help three main groups improve their skills in public speaking:

  1. Students in introductory speech classes that focus less on reading about speeches and more on preparing and delivering them
  2. Students in other courses that require speeches and thus may use the book as a secondary text
  3. Employees needing an on-the-job reference guide about speeches or a handbook for seminars on the subject

Not many people in any of these groups actually look forward to public speaking. Speeches force us outside our usual "comfort zone" of interpersonal, informal communication and into a "risky zone" of communication with larger groups in more formal situations. But because most of us do enjoy speaking informally, one key to good public speaking is to transfer skills we already display in less stressful contexts-such as conversations with friends or meetings with colleagues—to the formal contexts covered in this book. The Pocket Guide to Public Speaking will help you make this transition.

You've probably heard that every obstacle in life can be viewed conversely as an opportunity for learning. This book encourages you to see every speaking event as an opportunity to educate your audience. Public speaking also helps you grow personally and professionally. Just as you learn more about a subject in the process of preparing to write a report or proposal, you also learn more about a subject in the process of preparing to speak about it to others. View each speech as a chance to learn as much during the preparation process as you want your audience to learn during its delivery.

In short, improving your speaking skills first requires you to focus your attention and discard negative thoughts. Then you can proceed to follow the guidelines in this book for preparing and delivering your best speech. Adopting a positive attitude and working hard go hand in hand.

IMPORTANCE OF THIS BOOK TO YOU

We've established that the act of preparing and delivering speeches requires a great attitude and hard work. It's only natural for you to ask, "Why are speeches worth all this effort?"

The answer is that success in your professional life will depend on your speaking skills—either because you regularly will be asked to speak before groups or because you will occasionally be asked to do so. In the first case, much of your job may involve presenting new ideas to colleagues in your own organization or speaking about products or services to your customers. In the second case, you may toil away for years before you get that first request to speak before supervisors, clients, or professional colleagues. In either scenario, your next promotion, your next job, or your professional credibility may depend on the skills emphasized in this book.

Besides helping you influence others, there's another equally important reason to use this book in refining your speaking skills. Every time you deliver a competent presentation you add to a reservoir of self-confidence that spills over into the rest of your life. Success in public speaking breeds success in interpersonal communication because similar skills are at work. Your ability to inform, persuade, and entertain in an oral presentation increases the likelihood that you will run a more effective meeting, give a better job interview, or respond more appropriately in a performance evaluation.

Thus your ability to speak effectively in public will enhance the quality of your personal and professional life. Now, how is this little book designed to help you quickly achieve the goal of effective public speaking?

PLAN OF THIS BOOK

A single design principle drives this book—namely, minimalism, which is sometimes defined as "less is more." It aims to give just enough guidance to help you with the five main challenges of your work: research, organization, text, graphics, and delivery.

Each chapter presents guidelines, supporting examples, and practical exercises. Absent are long explanations and complex theory, which help little with the work of preparing and delivering a speech. Specifically, the text includes the following chapters and appendix:

• Chapter 1: Overview of Public Speaking
• Chapter 2: Research
• Chapter 3: Organization
• Chapter 4: Text
• Chapter 5: Graphics
• Chapter 6: Delivery
• Appendix: Sample Speech

The first chapter sets the scene by providing a summary of the process detailed in the rest of the book. It will help you choose what parts of the book to read and give you the basics needed to begin preparing speeches—even before you read the other chapters. Then the remaining chapters work through guidelines for completing each stage of the speech process. The appendix to this Pocket Guide contains a sample speech, along with marginal annotations that show how it follows the book's guidelines.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First, I want to thank my editors at Prentice Hall, Steve Helba and Debbie Yarnell, for suggesting that I write this pocket guide. They also helped shape my three other Prentice Hall books: Technical Writing: A Practical Approach (4th edition, 2000; 5th edition, expected 2003); Proposal Writing: The Art of Friendly and Winning Persuasion (2000, co-authored with Charles Keller); and Pocket Guide to Technical Writing (2nd edition, 2001).

Special thanks go to Dick Hahn, my teaching colleague at Southern Polytechnic State University, who offered suggestions incorporated into this book. I have benefited from his experience as a former executive in industry, as an instructor of speech communication, and as a professional speaker. 'the other individuals who supplied ideas or text have my deep gratitude, especially Dory Ingram, Kim Meyer, Hattie Schumaker, Betty Seabolt, James Stephens, Shawn Tonner, and Stephen Vincent. These contributions first appeared in my previous books, from which I have borrowed here.

As always, I relied on my wife Evelyn, my son Zachary, and my daughter Katie for their constant support and especially for their help preparing the final manuscript. I must add—with not a little regret—that important things did not get said and done because of the time I spent on this and other writing projects. I appreciate their love and understanding more than I am able to express.

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