Speak and Succeed

One of the sins-qua-nons of SUCCESS is the ability to communicate your thoughts effectively. If you cannot talk well, speak freely and express yourself eloquently and adequately, von will be seriously handicapped in going up the ladder and reaching the top. Speech, the ability to communicate subtle and intricate thoughts and ideas, from one to another by making appropriate sounds, is something which the human beings alone among the animal species, have brought to high degree of perfection. Ability to talk and speak is one of the great gifts of God to man and we should make the maximum possible use of this rare talent.

We all know that Knowledge is Power and Ideas Rule the World. But no matter what is the extent of your knowledge or how much ideas are there in your mind, you will be absolutely powerless and ineffective if you cannot communicate your knowledge and express your ideas to others and to the world in a forceful, convincing, clear and coherent manner. Among the means available to a man to express his thoughts, ideas, emotions, Feelings, hopes and aspirations and among the vital tools made available to him to influence and lead people, the ability to talk and say the minds of men is the most effective, lost potent and most appealing. If we study and analyze the lives of great men, who have wielded power and influence over other men, we will find them to be great speakers and grand orators. If by chance or due to circumstances, some people who have not originally been speakers of distinction come to position of eminence, they will soon by compelled to acquire this great art and excel in it. Without this essential talent of effective public speaking or effective communication one will find it difficult to maintain the position of leadership.

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In the present day, ability to talk is indispensable to every one whether he is a teacher, politician, worker, engineer, industrialist, lawyer, doctor, actor, or even house wife. Today the size of the world has shrunk and more than ever before our dependency on others has become greater for living our everyday life. You have to talk, mingle and motivate people. In a competitive world, the problem is more acute. The ability to talk and talk well has become so pronounced that we now dub an unsuccessful person as a dumb one. Next to sleeping eating and drinking we perhaps talk more than we do anything else. We can improve the quality of our living by improving the quality of our talk.

Talking and speaking plays a great part in our lives. According to Jackson, Talk can create new worlds with new and different people in them. What can’t we do with it? Communication brings everything. Love is found by it. Home is made by it. What a great power we have and always with us With a few words, we can dissolve loneliness, we can encourage, we can set free, we can bring alive, we can understand all with just our ordinary vocabularies.

You can see, feel, realize and appreciate the magic wonder of word power and forceful speech when you consider how Mark Antony had turned the mad, yelling, blood—thirsty, antagonistic Roman crowds into his faithful and ardent followers by his famous speech. On the other hand the Great Alexander had to abandon, his dream of world conquest, turn back and die enroute as a disappointed man at the prime of his youth, because his words failed to convince and rouse the enthusiasm of his soldiers:

Although the able and great Abraham Lincoln is no more with us but the words of freedom and hope he uttered at Gettysburg continue to ring in our ears. This memorable speech of his is perhaps the widest read human document in the world.

Winston Churchill literally won the World War by his sheer word power. By Ii is powerful talks he made Ii is countrymen stand firm, united and determined in the face of crushing defeat. It is not too much to say that his words turned defeat into victory.

It is interesting as well as encouraging to note that all these great people are not born orators. They became famous speakers by learning, training and constant practice. It is said of Demosthenes, the great orator of ancient Greece, that lie was initially the worst stammerer of Athens. In order to attain mastery as an orator it appeared that lie went to the beach each morning, put quite a few pebbles in his mouth and started addressing the waves. No wonder that he became the legendary orator for others to emulate after his so many daily harangues of the waves. If such physically handicapped, socially shy and educationally unqualified individuals could establish themselves as great speakers and move millions by the force of their words, why not you? Certainly you can. In fact you can do far better with the modern facilities and techniques available at your disposal. What is more, it is a must, if ii are to succeed in your life and gain the coveted goal you have t your eyes on. If you are warm, friendly, outgoing sympathetic, accommodative, considerate, appreciative, ready to talk and to .en and have understanding, then you will find that others are ready to share with you and lay bare their hearts and minds in your company. They will seek your company out and engage you in conversation.

Talk is one of the most important and yet the easiest of means of expressing your admiration, regard and love for others. Appreciation and esteem, affection and goodwill, encouragement and support can all be expressed and effectively conveyed by a few simple, selected, telling words. Words spring out of spontaneity, blended with sincerity and warmth constitute the talk of automatically. If you thus improve the quality of your talk you will automatically improve the quality of living.

Talk is not empty sound. You should not bore others and tire them with your unceasing prattle and meaningless waffle. Your talk should be purposive, pregnant with ideas, satisfying to the minds of listeners and capable of creating favorable response. By our talk we should be able to discover people in all their variety and originally, each one responsive to moods and emotions, hopes and aspirations. If our talk is cold, distant, superficial, casual, affected cloaked, we will never be able to break the barrier and get through to our audience and discover them. Our words should laugh sings, ripple and flow. They must vibrate weight piety, friendship, love, joy, color and power. They must explain, exalt, we and inspire the audience. We have already noted that public speaking and the ability to talk effectively can be mastered by anybody. If you are keen, enthusiastic and industrious, you can definitely become a good speaker.

With experience and greater efforts you can certainly become an outstanding speaker. Knowledge of the subject, real enthusiasm and interest for the subject, through preparation, effective delivery and adopting yourself to the mood of the audience are some of the important aspects which one should consider to master the art of public speaking.

In the initial stages when you are a beginner, select a topic which interests YOU. It may he your hobby, favorite pastime, sports, your goal in life or the problem that is vitally affecting your profession or community. As Carnegie puts it, “when a speaker has a real message in his head and heart, an inner urge to speaks, he is almost sure to do himself credit Your enthusiasm and interest for the subject will soon take over and you will forget your diffidence or hesitation if any. Next than you could possibly use within the time ear- marked to you. This would develop extra confidence in YOU because of the reserve material you have built up. It is useful to discuss your topic with friends, read about it and think about it as much as possible. One your interest grows and knowledge increases, enthusiasm for the subject will grip you and your enthusiasm will automatically flow out to your audience. They will be influenced more by your urge, warmth and emotional identification than by cold arguments and subtle reasoning. Learn to like you audience. This will enable you to get rid of your fear of the audience. Love always begets love, you must not regard the audience as hostile and something to he feared. On the other hand, consider that it consists of warm hearted people who are by and large well disposed of and friendly to you. They have undergone expense and trouble to come and attend to meeting or conference. They are spending their precious time in the process of listening to what you say. They consider you to be some one worth all these troubles. You must like them for it. You must go all out and help them or give them a good and profitable time. Your task is to make them happy and contribute t their well-being. If you visualize and picture your audience in this manner, your nervousness if any will disappear. You sense of du and obligation will give you courage and confidence. You enthusiasm and interest will grow. You will develop and positiv4 attitude and you will anticipate the adventure and outcome with optimism.

No matter how great and experienced an orator is preparation always helps and improve his performance. Great and talented speakers like Lincoln, Churchill, Srinivasa Sastri and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan have spent several hours in preparing their talks. If it is so with the renowned masters, it is all the more essential for the beginners and aspirants. They must prepare carefully and then prepare more. The fact that one has prepared well will obviously lead to a better performance. The knowledge that he has prepared well will boost his confidence and he will be freed from the anxiety and nervousness not only when he is actually delivering the talk but also in that hour and those minutes before he begins. That is the crucial time when the legions of fear may start digging in. That is the moment for the panic to strike and overcome the performer. But when one is are that he has prepared thoroughly kind more, when he knows that lie has all mc ammunition and artillery at his disposal and he is sure and clear how he is going to begin, continue and end in short when he is prepared, the fear vanishes and confidence grows.

Complete mastery of the subject forms the major part of the preparatory work. Acquiring the full and through knowledge of the subject, in a narrower series, is preparation itself. It refers to the rime when the information is sorted out, the right parts chosen and the talk reduced to writing, at least in its broad outline. The written notes should be revised and rewritten again and again. Getting the right facts and ideas in the right order and place involves time and thought. The first attempt can always be improved upon, as also the subsequent attempts. In the initial stages, it is better for the beginner to write out the proposed speech in full form from the notes and subsequently learn it almost by heart. One should avoid reading out his talk to his audience. In any case an informal or ordinary talk should never be read out. Notes are used to jog one’s memory while delivering a speech. After gaining some experience one should dispense with the necessity of writing the speech fully. He should learn to speak solely from the brief notes.

The notes should be easily read. It is advisable to confine them to headings made up of two or three words. Special words may be underlined or printed in block capitals. Some people, when they get up to speak, spread out the notes on the table in front, us a - pencil to mark the place and move the pencil down the page as they proceed with each subject. In this way the eye is enabled to go back swiftly to the right place and they are able to read instantly what is written there. Then they can look up and talk to the audience straight.

Audiences are not all alike and it is essential to understand and appreciate the need and level of each one. On each occasion, the speaker should evaluate the interest of the audience and prepare the type of speech that would go well with the audience. He should not consider on what he thinks the audience ought to be told, but on what they are interested to learn.

At the start one should establish the necessary rapport with the audience. The audience needs some time to adjust themselves to the speaker. They often want to see what the speaker looks like, from a judgment of his personality and get used to his voice. The speaker should therefore devote a minute or two in the beginning to matters that would establish the rapport. For a second or two he can smile, look into the eyes of the audience and remain silent. Then after this brief pause, he can say something humorous or of special interest to the audience. Thereafter he can switch over to the subject proper.

One must be sure beforehand what he is going to say and how he is going to say it to his audience. This equally applies to formal speeches as well as to informal, important talks. It is not sufficient to have some vague and confused ideas in one’s mind and precede rumbling on as the talk progresses. Commenting on this subject, Daniel Webster once observed, “I would as soon think of appearing before an audience half-clad as half prepared”. These words stress the supreme importance of adequate and thorough preparation. One must plan his speech from start to finish if he were to build confidence in himself and do justice to his audience. One should thoroughly understand his subject and its scope. He must then study and gather complete data. Next he must determine his line of approach and treatment of the subject. This will be oriented to the nature and type of audience and the occasion as well as the time at one’s disposal for the talk. Next, one should plan the introduction. The treatment of the subject would then follow as the main feature. Lastly, the concluding or summing up remarks should be incorporated. Confidence to face an audience one should take for granted. Act confident and you will automatically become confident. The fear will disappear only with experience. The more the practice, the more the knowledge, the greater the interest, keenness and enthusiasm, the lesser will be the diffidence, fear and hesitation. One should not confuse the natural anxiety to do well with under confidence.

Up to a certain extent even great orators feel this slight nervousness born out of the anxiety to do well. In fact it is this natural apprehension which goads one to prepare thoroughly and well. This nervous feeling will melt and vanish as one starts the talk and warms up to his subject. It is only the feeling of inadequacy and lack of experience which frightens the beginner. This fear or anxiety is common to all matters and not confined to public speaking alone. A surgeon doing his first few operations, a lawyer arguing his initial cases or an engineer taking his first construction work will all have this natural anxiety. Since practice quells fear and experience makes one the master, we should welcome every opportunity to talk to others and to speak in public. Learning to be a good speaker is simply learning to be as much yourself in talking to a crowd of people as you would be talking to one.” (Walter Mursell). None of us have any difficulty or inhibition in expressing our views and sharing our ideas with our friends. Familiarity, absence of the fear of violent criticism and habit enable us to be free and frank under such situations. Similarly if you view the audience as warm and friendly and if you are not worried about the criticism you can also face the audience with equal confidence. The habit will grow with practice and experience. Bit by bit one will get the feel of things, one will learn to adjust himself to the moods of the audience and eventually gain the capacity to talk with spirit confidence and conviction. The feeling of hearing one’s own voice, the feeling of being at home with a audience will steadily grow. The secret of success in the field of public speaking lies in mastering what you want to say, mastering yourself and mastering your audience. You must know where you are going, trust your audience and let yourself go freely.

Once you have mastered the art, once public speaking has become a natural quality and way of life with you, you will be able to enjoy the thrill and power of moving and motivating an audience. Only then will you appreciate the real truth that ideas rule the world and that knowledge and not brutal force is the real power. What is more you will realize that this power that wakes men, shakes the world and causes, revolutions, flows through your words.