Speech is one of the fundamental qualities of human beings. Without speech, language would not have evolved, just as without different languages, different cultures would not have risen and perhaps, the human civilization would have never got its shape. Communicating is as integral a part of our lives, as is breathing, eating food and sleeping. Not a day generally passes without us speaking to our friends, family, and colleagues. If we come across such a day, we feel isolated.
But how many times in our daily life, do we actually think whether our words have any significance? In other words, how many times do we recollect what we said to the other person, and try to assess whether our words really added any value to the listener? Or how many times do we think we have made an impact on the listener through our words?
These thoughts don’t cross our mind very often, but when they do, we find ourselves unable to get our speech right. This assumes a bigger problem when we join the corporate circle and are asked to speak impromptu. We don’t get ideas on a topic and fail to make a good impression on others.
Impromptu speaking, as a challenge, is not limited only to the academically-backward. On the contrary, it has been found that majority of the literate population are found wanting in this area.
Given a topic, we find ourselves with no option other than to stare at the roof, indicating that we are thinking of the topic when the truth is that our mind is devoid of any idea at that moment whatsoever.
Declamation contests, debates, and group discussions are some situations where we fail to come up with instant ideas on a topic. Due to this issue, most of us fail to make a mark on the panelists and hence, our chances of getting selected to a B-school or landing a job of our choice becomes difficult. Even though we are equipped with adequate technical knowledge, we fail to grab the opportunity because during the group discussion, debate or declamation contests, we fail to put appropriate words to our thoughts in short notice.
What was the last time you had gone up to the podium to speak on a topic and you suffered from a choked throat, sweating forehead, and palpitating heart? If you have suffered this at least once in the last few months, then you need to know that it is not rare for even veteran speakers to face a black-out, when they are asked to speak impromptu on a topic for mere 2 minutes.
Someone who uses too many slogans and catchy statements is not certainly a good speaker. If the audience has nothing – like a word, a phrase or personal quote – to remember at the end of the speech, then the speaker has failed. Hence, it is imperative that a speaker allows the audience to return with some takeaway from the speech. If that happens, then the speech – irrespective of the vocabulary, idioms, and proverbs – will be successful.
To help a person speak, we encourage him or her to speak in front of a crowd and shed their glossophobia. That, indeed, helps them to get rid of their stage-fright. But dropping this fear is not enough to make someone a great speaker. A speaker may have style, elegance and panache with delivery, but if the content is weak, then the audience won’t have any key takeaway. If your listeners don’t have anything to take back from your speech, then your minutes of speech have been futile. Hence, the content of your speech is really vital and has to be of good quality.