What Makes a Good Public Speaker?

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Being able to effectively communicate with parties is a cornerstone of managing communication and behaviour in professional environments. It is important to be able to interact with participants in a way that engages with them and maintains that level of engagement (Albert Mehrabian Communication Studies, 2017).

Oral presentations consist of three main components: words spoken, tone of voice and non-verbal communication (body language) (Cenere, 2015). All three of these elements are necessary in order to be a good public speaker. In 1967, Albert Mehrabian, Professor of Psychology, found that in the case of inconsistency between verbal and non-verbal communication, facial expressions are the most dominant, the vocal component ranks second and words rank third, being the least significant of the three. Meaning that a good public speaker should not rely solely on words in order to deliver their message, but use a combination of these three elements.

For further information – go to Albert Mehrabian’s website at: http://www.kaaj.com/psych/

Brothers Chip and Dan Heath, in their best-selling book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (2007) outline how organisations and business professionals can use traits of ‘sticky ideas’ in order to make communication more effective. A sticky idea is understood and remembered, and has lasting impact to change people’s opinions or behaviour (Lee, Phd 2017). These characteristics, or ‘sticky ideas’ used in oral presentations are simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. Using sticky ideas in oral presentations enables the speaker to engage the audience and achieve success.



Albert Mehrabian Communication Studies. (2017). Iojt-dc2013.org. Retrieved 10 April 2017, from http://www.iojt-dc2013.org/~/media/Microsites/Files/IOJT/11042013-Albert-Mehrabian-Communication-Studies.ashx

Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., & Lewis, M. (2015). Communication Skills for Business Professionals (1st ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lee PhD, S. (2017). Made to Stick: Delivering scientific presentations and posters for impact. Northwestern University. Retrieved 10 April 2017, from http://www.northwestern.edu/climb/pdfs-powerpoints/resources-oral/Oral%20presentation%20skills%201%20-%20sticky%20scientific%20presentations%202012.pdf

Mehrabian, A. (1977). Nonverbal Communcation. Chicago, IL: Aldine.

GIF: GIPHY | Search All the GIFs & Make Your Own Animated GIF. (2017). GIPHY. Retrieved 19 May 2017, from http://www.giphy.com