Seven Insights into the HEART of Public Speaking
by Raju Mandhyan

Most books and workshops on presentation skills and public speaking focus so much on superficial things that it becomes almost impossible for a reader or trainee to extract value that will be long lasting. Trainers focus on the form, the function, and sometimes even the content value in a very plastic, shallow way. Use a structural formula called the AIDA [Attention-Interest-Desire-Action] or something similar, they say. "Maintain eye contact, gesticulate, or wear a necktie for better effect," they say. And to all that I say, "Hello?!" Get real, people!

Public speaking is about appearances and physiology but more than that about connecting well and providing value. I've seen speakers klutz their way through instructions and come out stressed and stiffer than a barn door after making a presentation. If public speaking were just about these things then why involve the public? Why not just strangle yourself in front of a mirror with your necktie while maintaining eye contact with yourself?

I say accept the layer of fear that surrounds you and step out of it. Recognize the layer of pretension that you wear and discard it. Grab your heart from within and place it on the lectern for all to see and then let them cheer or jeer at it. Trust me, they will cheer!

Here are seven insights that I have drawn from my book, The Heart of Public Speaking. They may not be worded in the book as they appear below but they are insights that the book makes an effort at making a part of your being.

Public speaking is about…

The Relationships that you Build:
The kind of endearment you create towards yourself before and right after you step on the lectern will help you speak with ease and comfort since you will be talking to friends. Do this by talking a little bit about yourself or your purpose. Make this light, insightful, and funny. Your audience will love you for it.

The Authenticity of your Objectives:
The audience will be more receptive to your talk as long as you remain true and transparent about your intentions. Do this by meeting their needs first and then draw them gently towards what is true and beneficial.

The Passion behind your Persuasions:
Most public speaking opportunities are for bringing about change. If you are the driver and the change catalyst, the visibility of your passion's intensity will add to the persuasiveness of your speech. You can achieve this by being committed to what you like. If you like it then your audience will like it too!

The Voice of your Emotions:
Great voices are gifts of nature but greater voices are gifts of nurture. Other than James Earl Jones there are a hundred other baritones in the world, but James Earl Jones, through practice, has been able to suffuse his voice with honey and rhythm. Breathe normally, speak casually, and do not worry about language proficiency and you will end up speaking in your most natural and likable voice. This voice will reveal all that you feel.

The Measure of your Clarity:
This is where form and structure come in but in no way can they come in before the aforementioned three factors. For your talks to be structured and smooth, a lot of research, preparing, writing, and practicing will have to be done -- at home. This is where you can use AIDA or STAR [Situation-Task-Action-Result].

The Degree of your Creativity:
After you construct your speech you may want to add a little zest to it by adding a flashback, several rhetoric questions, or a famous quote. Structure and logic are important but most of us have a desire for something different and beautiful. Be sure to take time to make your talks fun and different from others.

The Height of your Conscientiousness:
As long as listeners believe that you, the speaker leader, have a deep and honest desire to change their lot and bring them from darkness to light, they will follow you to the end of the world. You can't reach this last stage unless you have gone through the first six.

These seven insights that I have gained over years of listening, thinking, and talking have helped me and I am sure that they will help you too!

Towards your journey into more clarity, creativity, and conscientiousness, may the force be with you!

Author of "The Heart of Public Speaking", Raju Mandhyan has fifteen years of exposure to manufacturing, sales, marketing and international trade; seven years as an independent coach, consultant and trainer. His talent rests not in telling you things that are right and useful, but guiding you through your own thoughts and helping you find truths and applications for the 21st century corporate world. Visit for additional information.

Many more articles in Presentations & Public Speaking in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2005 by Raju Mandhyan. All rights reserved.

Current Issue - Archives - CEO Links - News - Conferences - Recommended Reading