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Speech Basics

Some Hints about Practice - Speaking in Public

There are two principle rules for increasing your effectiveness in public speaking:

LEARN TO LISTEN objectively and critically to every speaker you hear, particularly yourself.

Get as much PRACTICE as possible.

Take every opportunity to speak that comes your way. Read aloud stories, poetry and your own writing to imaginary audiences. Read and talk to a taperecorder, and listen to yourself. Read and talk to your family and friends, asking for their criticism.

Make notes of your conversations with friends. Then, when you have time, criticize and develop them.
For practice in extemporaneous speaking, put a number of topics that interest you on slips of paper. Draw one from a hat and talk briefly about it to your family.
Read carefully newspaper and magazine articles and then retell the main points in the form of short talks.
Criticize your own speaking posture and gestures in a full-length mirror.
Read aloud other people's speeches, trying to give them all the appropriate inflections of voice, and changes of pace.

Most people find it easier to follow a program of study when they work with a group. Classes in public speaking are offered in many communities. Speakers' clubs are often organized to meet the need for group study. Here are a few suggestions for practice in groups.

Give three-minute talks on interesting books or movies.

Take sides on current political issues.

Promote the campaign of a local agency such as the community chest.

Describe favourite hobbies or sports.

Give directions, extemporaneously, for reaching a particular place, for cooking a favourite dish, for carrying out a craft or business technique.

The whole group might draw up a list of topics and assign them by lot to individual members for preparation and presentation.

Group study offers opportunities to develop discussion techniques. Four or five members might discuss a subject apart from the others and then one of them might report the discussion to all the members of the class or club.

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