Title: Public Speaking
Notes: Last updated: 12 November 2010

Public Speaking

The emphasis of our fight is to let people know that they are being enslaved and how to escape their chains. Speaking in public is how we want to fight our battles, as this is an easy and professional way to appeal to larger audiences. These tips can also be used in conjunction with interviews, if you are ever selected to represent your organization for a mainstream audience.

Here are tips to remember:

  • Regardless how informal the situation, write out and rehearse your speech beforehand. Improvisation is harder than you think.

  • Prepare answers for questions you will likely get and rehearse them until you are comfortable. Nothing is worse than appearing to fumble a soft-ball question.

  • Use grammatically simple sentences. People can't see your semi-colons.

  • Arrive early and check out the room and AV equipment.

  • Meet a few members of the audience if possible and schmooze a little.

  • Understand your topic enough to be able to answer questions.

  • If you don't know, admit it. Say you will think about it, write it down (even if you don't plan on researching it), and thank the questioner. If you promise to get back to the person or group with an answer then make sure you do so.

  • Do exercises, like running on a flight of stairs right before the presentation, to burn off any adrenaline overdose. Be careful not to get sweaty.

  • Chill out, and tell yourself that you are ready.

  • If you are giving a informational speech, these people want you to speak to them. Make eye contact often, and try to smile

  • Never mention to the audience that you are nervous or are facing other problems. You may think that you can connect to them better this way, but people will respect you and listen more attentively if you sound like you've done this before and are in control

  • Concentrate on the topic. Don't worry that there is an audience

  • Nerves are OK. Adrenaline makes you look excited about the topic at hand and you will be more persuasive if you have passion. Be sure not to let the adrenaline take over, though, but instead use it to your advantage.

  • Take the opportunity to speak in public when offered, as practice makes perfect.

  • Never say "um", "ah", or other thinking delay noises, instead say "just a moment" or similar if you need to think, for anything not easily remembered offer to get back to the questioner and move on.

Comedian and actress Carrol Burnett once said that when she gets nervous in front of an audience, she imagines everyone sitting on toilet seats.

If you are speaking you must know what you are talking about, and be ready to answer any and all questions presented. For your audience to remember your speech, you need to be professional, informed, and ready to give as much as you can in order to get the word across.

If you are being interviewed be sure to have planned a short list of your important talking points, make your answers to any question fit into your talking points and take back the interview. Your answers must be planned so studio editing or a cut off live interview will not loose the message you want conveyed.

Look at the way most newspaper articles are written with vital information on top and each sentence of descending importance so it is possible to cut off the article to fit, use this method to fill your allotted time slot while having the contingency of overruns or cutoffs covered.

Persuasive Speaking

Persuasive speaking is different from an informative speech. Here, the attitude may be anything from ignorant to hostile, so remember your public speaking points and add these as well:

  • Have a specific objective to your speech. Don't wander from your topic.

  • Know what your audience needs and what they want to hear.

  • Don't bring up minor differences in opinion that divide you from the audience.

  • Emphasize the causes or experiences you share that tie you or your cause to the audience.

  • Present in this order: introduction of the problem, then solution, followed by the specifics on how to achieve the solution.

  • Tape practice sessions of yourself and listen a few hours later while taking notes.

  • Practice the presentation first with a single audience member, then with three or four, and let them ask hard questions.

  • If possible, arrive early and form a rapport with some of the audience or have a few plants arrive separately. Friends like these may support you if things get exciting, or even afterwards, as they talk to other audience members.

  • Use key words and phrases, and repeat those words or phrases, like "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." If you can find something simple and clever to reiterate your thesis, without making yourself sound proud of your pretty little phrase, you will be able to better tie your arguments together.

  • Take notes on your speech as soon as possible after every time you present it. Ask close friends who may have attended to find out what you can change

  • Dress in a manner considered respectful and intelligent by your audience.

  • Never act desperate, as the audience will respect a speaker with a backbone.

  • Never engage hecklers or acknowledge counter-protesters.

  • Arrange a friend or two to watch all stage entrances, the pie-in-face is a popular counter protest tactic.

Group Education

Education is the prime goal of any radical project. There is no nobler profession than being a teacher, and you may find yourself needing to reach out and educate. Be it for your social group, a free university class, or community outreach, take every opportunity you can to educate and liberate. Teaching radical urban farming, radical Linux use, or even bicycle repair are all great uses of your time, and will aid your brothers and sisters in times of hostility.

Above all, gain the respect of your class. If you are too easy on them, they will use you. If you are too strict, they will want to rebel against you. Respect also comes from knowing your facts, using proper grammar and spelling, and letting them see the practicality of what you are teaching them.

  • Never talk down or act superior to your students

  • Always prepare your material before class

  • Preparation should include having an outline of your curriculum, so you do not get lost in your lesson

  • Presentation software or flip-charts should be an aid in note taking and keeping you on topic, not something to read to the class

  • Always invite participation from the whole class and encourage questions, find ways to encourage quiet students to participate

  • Be careful of students who frequently lead the class off topic or monopolize class time. As the teacher, you should set a time limit for off topic discussion, or offer to discuss after class.

  • Try to include visual aids, models, short plays, and chalkboard drawings help a student build a conceptual model in their mind

  • Try to know students by name. If this is a problem, name signs or tags can help

  • Make students repeat concepts to show understanding

  • Trade feedback. This way, both you and your students will know where they stand and where you need to adjust your teaching to meet the needs of your students

  • Learn how to properly use a chalk/white board, Audio/Visual equipment, and printed handouts. Used properly, these can be very useful, but used poorly, will bore students or become more waste paper

  • Assignments are not punishments. Find ways to assign students homework that will give them useful practice without inducing stress and fear

  • Avoid distracting locations. If possible, find a room or outside area reserved exclusively for your group

  • Try to keep class location and schedule constant

A flexible guideline for student-teacher ratios and different teaching styles

  • Less than 7-1: Intimate Conversational Teaching

Small group learning is important for technical or difficult topics which require strong teacher leadership and feedback. After a lecture, or a classroom-sized meeting, the class may be broken up into this type of group with trained leaders assigned for hands-on application of the subject.

  • Less than 30-1: Interactive Classroom Teaching...

When there are not enough teachers available, or only one expert is available, classroom size groups are a good middle ground between intimate discussions and lectures. Care must be taken so that every student has an opportunity to interact; having students present homework for the class is a good way to encourage interaction, as are rewards for interaction and correct answers(if done without patronizing the student). As the group grows larger, you will need to use more of a lecture format.

  • More than 50-1: Lecture

The lecture setting is used when there is an expert available with a large group seeking the information he wants to present. Since participation is difficult with this style, this is largely a one way transfer of information; the speaking tips above come fully into play here. Quality visual aids become very important as well. Remember that many students may be taking notes, so plan your visual aides carefully. A good idea, if it is practical pertaining to your situation, is to give a allotment of time for questions after the lecture concludes. Acoustics are very important at a lecture as well. If you are outdoors, look for a location that may feature a small valley for the audience, and situate yourself on the lip of the depression. Otherwise, look for a small hill to situate yourself upon. Quality PA systems are beneficial for any enviroment, either indoors or outdoors. Quality miniature, battery powered amplifiers, like the Crate Taxi Amp, offer mobility, lightness, and versatility for voice amplification. If you cannot amplify your voice in this manner, be sure to speak loudly and deliberately.