A Public Speaking Framework

(Hargie, 2016)

1.0 Framework

Public speaking and presenting are closely intertwined activities that share many similarities. They both require a speaker to carefully craft their words, visuals, vocalics, and body language in order to effectively communicate their ideas and connect with their audience. However, the key distinction lies in how these skills are used to achieve the speaker’s desired outcome.

When it comes to public speaking, the audience may be large and unknown to the speaker. To engage successfully, it is essential for the speaker to use their voice and body language dynamically, varying their tone, volume, and pace, and emphasising their words with appropriate gestures and movements. To ensure the audience can relate to the message, the speaker should craft their words carefully and carefully choose their visual aids.

On the other hand, presenting is more focused on a smaller and more familiar audience. Voice and body language are still important, but they must be adapted to suit the audience. The words used may be more technical, as the audience is more knowledgeable about the topic. Visuals are key to making the presentation engaging and helping the presenter explain their topic effectively.

Ultimately, understanding the relationship between public speaking and presenting involves examining the necessary skills and the delivery of these skills. While there are similarities, the execution of these skills must be tailored to the event, audience, and objectives for a successful outcome. By recognizing the nuances of this relationship, speakers can craft dynamic presentations that are tailored to their audience and effectively communicate their message in a way that resonates.

In future posts, we will interchange the terms public speaking and presentation skills to refer to the same abilities.

These four areas – words, visuals, vocalics, and body language – are part of the work of Hargie and Owen and are represented in the above diagram. This is the framework we will be using in future posts to better understand how we can improve our presentation skills.

Q1. Vocal/Verbal is the use of words to convey a message. This includes making the words we use either informative, persuasive, or entertaining and how they are ordered or structured.

Q2. Vocal/Nonverbal communication is the way we use our tone, volume, and inflection when speaking. This form of communication is often used to emphasize words and convey meaning.

Q3. Non-vocal/Verbal is the way we use visuals to help us communicate. This involves the use of slides, handouts and demonstrations.

Q4. Non-vocal/Nonverbal communication is the way we communicate with our body language. This can include gestures, movement, posture, facial expressions, and dress.

It’s important to be mindful that this framework divides verbal and nonverbal communication (NVC) into distinct categories. However, in reality, these skills are highly intertwined and often interdependent.

In our next post, we will discuss Q1. the vocal/verbal or the use of words to convey a message.

Ref: Hargie, O. (2016). Communicating without words: skilled nonverbal behaviour. In Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. Taylor & Francis Group.

Unlock the Power of Nonverbal Cues: Learn How the Right Rest Positions Can Enhance Your Presentation!

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Speaking in front of a large group can be intimidating, and it can be challenging to understand how to use your nonverbal cues, especially body language, to effectively convey your message. Body language is an essential part of a successful presentation, and the rest positions you use are an important part of this. In this blog post, we’ll explore how the right rest positions can contribute to the success of your presentation.

There are some simple rest positions to help you feel more confident and keep your hands in check during presentations. From pretending to hold a string or pencil, to creating a tent or gate with your hands, to resting on a chair or flip chart stand, there are a variety of rest positions available. Let’s take a closer look at each of these options and discuss how to use them to the best effect when presenting.

The “String” or “Pencil” Position

This rest position is a wonderful way to feel more grounded and in control. When in this position you are less likely to fidget or wave your hands around aimlessly. To achieve this, hold an imaginary 6″ piece of string between your hands. You can move your hands but only as far as the imaginary piece of string will allow. The pencil technique entails holding an actual pencil between both hands and then perhaps utilizing it to point to a visual aid. After a period, you may decide to put the pencil down and use a different rest position. Utilize a wooden pencil here, since it doesn’t have any distracting clips or buttons to press or flick.

Remember not to hold any rest position for too long, as it may start to look unnatural. Five to ten seconds may be a good duration.

The “Tent” or “Gate” Formation

The tent is an excellent position to use when you want to rest your hands but also emphasize a particular point or add emphasis to a statement. In this position, your fingertips come together in a “tent” shape. For example, you may say “to begin, we need to reach out to our customers through various contact points.” As you say this you bring your fingertips together and hold for a brief period, resting there as you make your point.

Alternatively, your hands can be placed together in a “gate” shape with your palms facing you and your hands overlapping. Be careful here as this may be perceived as closing yourself off to your audience. As with our tent technique, use it to describe the point you are trying to make. For example, you may say “In order to ensure internet security, we need to establish levels of separation between these two processes.” As you say this you bring your hands together hold and pause until your point is made.

Resting on a Chair

This position can be used as a break from other hand gestures. It’s a casual position and is typically used for smaller group presentations where you know the audience. Put a chair to the slide of you with the seat facing away and place one hand on the back of the chair. Typically, the chair will belong to a table, rather than a random chair at the front of the room without any other function. This position is height dependent and may not work if you are tall, so make sure you rehearse it.

Resting on a Flip Chart Stand

Resting your hands on a flip chart stand or a freestanding whiteboard is another option if you are facilitating a discussion. This is a great way to take a break and to give yourself a moment to think. Simply stand next to the chart or board, put one hand on the frame facing the audience, and hold your pen in the other.

In conclusion, we know that the proper use of rest positions as part of a broader nonverbal communication strategy can help you feel more confident and in turn, will engage the audience and make your message memorable.

The Power to Choose Your Response: How to Transform Public Speaking Anxiety and Create Desired Outcomes

E+R=O Photo by Leeloo Thefirst on Pexels.com

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a cycle of fear and anxiety when it comes to public speaking? Do you feel like no matter what you do, you always end up in the same place, feeling scared, overwhelmed, and unable to communicate effectively?

Well, it may be time to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. Viktor E. Frankl, the renowned psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, once said “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

What Frankl was referring to is the idea that, between any event in our lives (such as public speaking) and our response to it, lies an opportunity to choose how we react. This space between stimulus and response allows us to implement strategies to prevent being overwhelmed and communicate more effectively.

The idea is further explored by Jack Canfield in his book ‘The Success Principles’, where he talks about E+R=O (Event + Response = Outcome)’. His basic premise is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it’s success or failure, wealth or poverty, health or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy, or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event or events in your life.

If you don’t like the outcomes you’re currently getting, you have two options: either blame the event (E) for your lack of results (O) or change your response (R) to the event (E).

By understanding this concept, you can begin to make a conscious choice about how you respond to events in your life, such as public speaking. Instead of automatically reverting to fear and anxiety, you can take a step back and think about what your best response would be in each situation in order to achieve the outcome you want.

You may find it helpful to practice different responses in your head before going into a public speaking situation. Visualise how you want to come across, focus on the positive outcomes you want to achieve and practice the actions and words you’ll use to get there.

Ultimately, the goal is to cultivate a sense of power and control over events and circumstances in your life. By understanding the concept of ‘E + R = O’, you can take the first steps towards achieving this.

Don’t Do It! Professor Wegner Reveals Why Telling Yourself Not to Think About Something Increases the Likelihood of Doing It.

Ironic Process – don’t think of a white bear! Photo by Robert Anthony Carbone on Pexels.com

Professor Daniel M. Wegner has discovered a phenomenon that is surprisingly common – telling yourself not to do or think about something often increases the likelihood of actually doing or thinking about it. This phenomenon is known as ironic processing, and it has to do with the way the mind works under pressure.

When we tell ourselves not to do something, two mental processes are triggered – one conscious, and one automatic. The conscious process is in our awareness, and it searches for anything to think about other than the unwanted thought. The automatic process, on the other hand, is outside of our awareness and searches for the unwanted thought. This is where the problem lies – when under pressure, the conscious process may become overwhelmed, and the automatic process takes over and leads to the very thing we were trying to avoid.

This phenomenon can be seen in many forms – from those who swear off unhealthy foods only to find themselves craving them, to someone telling themselves not to mess up and they do exactly what they are trying not to do. Wegner’s research has revealed that the more we focus on not doing or thinking something, the more likely we are to end up doing or thinking it.

The good news is that there are ways to prevent this from happening. Wegner suggests reframing thoughts in a positive way and focusing on what you do want to do or think about, rather than what you don’t. He also suggests taking deep breaths and releasing the pressure. Taking a break from the situation can also help, as it allows us to take a step back and gain a new perspective.

So, the next time you find yourself in a presentation telling yourself not to do or think something, take a breath and remember Professor Wegner’s advice – focus on the positive and the things that you do want to think about, and don’t get overwhelmed by the pressure to avoid it.

Harness the Power of Facial Expressions to Boost your Presentation Confidence

Facial Expression
Facial Expressions Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Giving a great public presentation is more than just having the right words – it also involves understanding the nonverbal elements of communication. Facial expressions are a key part of this, as they are one of the most powerful tools to convey emotion and have a lasting impact on our audience. In this blog post, we will explore the “seven universal expressions of emotion” and discuss how to use them effectively in public speaking. From understanding the importance of setting the right tone to connecting with your audience, we will guide you through the elements of facial expression to help you deliver an unforgettable presentation.

The seven universal expressions of emotion are happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, contempt, and disgust. Each of these emotions can be used to help you create an emotional connection with your audience. Here’s how:

The Seven Universal Expressions of Emotion

  1. Happiness: Smiling is one of the best ways to create an emotional connection with your audience. Not only does it make you seem friendly and approachable, it can also make your audience more likely to remember your presentation.
  • 2. Sadness: If you’re discussing a difficult topic, it can be hard to find the right words. But, by expressing sadness through your facial expressions, you can show your audience that you understand their pain and empathize with their situation.
  • 3. Surprise: If you’re delivering an unexpected message, surprise can be an effective tool to grab your audience’s attention. Just make sure not to overdo it, as too much surprise can make your audience uncomfortable.
  • 4. Fear: If you’re speaking about a topic that could be potentially frightening, you can use your facial expressions to convey the gravity of the situation. It can also help your audience understand the seriousness of the matter.
  • 5. Anger: If you’re trying to rouse your audience to action, anger can be a great way to express your passion and conviction. Just make sure to channel it in a positive way.
  • 6. Contempt: If you’re talking about a situation or person that deserves to be criticized, contempt can be a great way to convey your disapproval. However, be careful not to overdo it, as your audience may view it as an attack.
  • 7. Disgust: If you’re discussing a particularly unpleasant topic, disgust can be an effective tool to communicate your revulsion. Just be sure to use it sparingly, as too much disgust can turn your audience off.

By understanding the seven universal expressions of emotion, you can use facial expressions to create an emotional connection with your audience. This will help you deliver a memorable and impactful presentation. So the next time you’re giving a presentation, remember to use facial expressions to set the tone and connect with your audience.

What’s the science behind this?

The seven universal expressions of emotion, as identified by renowned psychologists Paul Ekman and David Matsumoto, are a set of universal facial expressions that are used by all human beings regardless of culture and language. These seven expressions are the basis of nonverbal communication and are considered to be the core of facial expressions and emotions.

As discussed above the seven facial expressions that Ekman and Matsumoto have identified as universal are as follows: happiness, anger, surprise, fear, disgust, contempt, and sadness. Each of these expressions has a distinct appearance, which can be easily recognized by people from different countries and cultures.

It is important to note that these expressions do not always have the same meaning in different cultures and contexts. While a smile may indicate happiness in one context, in a different context it may represent something entirely different. This is why Ekman and Matsumoto stress the importance of being able to recognize the subtle differences in facial expressions and their meanings.

In order to properly recognize these seven expressions, it is important to observe the whole face and not just focus on a single feature. For example, a person may have a smile on their face, but if they are frowning or their eyes are narrow, the smile may not be an expression of joy. By looking at the whole face, it is easier to determine the true emotion that the person is feeling.

Over the years, Ekman and Matsumoto have conducted extensive research on the seven universal expressions of emotion. They have found that these expressions are universal and can be found in all cultures. They also found that these expressions are strongly influenced by the culture and context in which a person is located.

In addition to the seven universal expressions of emotion, Ekman and Matsumoto have also identified several other facial expressions that are more specific to a particular culture or context. These include expressions related to embarrassment, pride, and surprise.

Overall, the seven universal expressions of emotion identified by Ekman and Matsumoto provide an important insight into nonverbal communication. By understanding these expressions, people can better understand what emotions are being communicated to them and have a better understanding of how to respond in a given situation.

Here are two videos that further explain the seven universal expressions of emotion

Exploring Facial Expressions with Paul Ekman

Are facial expressions learned or innate? Dr. David Matsumoto

Stop Talking and Start Gesturing: 8 Ways to Make an Impact with Nonverbal Communication.

Nonverbal communication is an important part of any interpersonal interaction. It encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including gestures, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact. Nonverbal communication is often referred to as the “unspoken language” and is a powerful tool for conveying messages and emotions.

Gestures are an especially powerful form of nonverbal communication and are used to supplement verbal communication. Gestures can be used to indicate a desire or need, to show approval, or to ask for help. There are a variety of different gestures that can be used, and the specific gesture that is used will depend on the culture and context in which it is being used.

One of the most popular forms of body language and gestures used in public speaking is the Laban Eight Efforts: Punch, Slash, Dab, Flick, Press, Wring, Glide, and Float. By incorporating these movements into your presentation, you can emphasize your points and create an impactful presentation.

Below we have provided a description of each of these movements and provided a link to The Drama Coach, Lisa Southam’s YouTube channel, where you can see each of these demonstrated.

Punch Gesture

Laban Punch is a powerful gesture that involves a quick thrusting action with your arm, as if punching someone. This gesture is great for expressing anger, frustration, or intense emotion. It can also be used to emphasize the importance of a point. The Drama Coach – Punch

Slash Gesture

Slash is a gesture that involves a slicing motion with your arm. This gesture can be used to draw attention to a particular point or to suggest confidence and authority. The Drama Coach – Slash

Dab Gesture

Dab is a gesture that involves a downward motion of your arm, as if dabbing something away. This gesture is often used to express dismissal or to convey a more casual attitude. The Drama Coach – Dab

Flick Gesture

Flick is a gesture that involves a quick movement of your arm, as if flicking something away. This gesture can be used to indicate dismissal or to punctuate a point. The Drama Coach – Flick

Press Gesture

Press is a gesture that involves a pressing motion of your arm, as if pressing something down. This gesture can be used to emphasize a point or to express determination. The Drama Coach – Press

Wring Gesture

Wring is a gesture that involves twisting your arm, as if wringing something out. This gesture can be used to express frustration or to draw attention to a particular point. The Drama Coach – Wring

Glide Gesture

Glide is a gesture that involves a slow, graceful movement of your arm, as if gliding through the air. This gesture can be used to suggest a feeling of freedom or movement. The Drama Coach – Glide

Float Gesture

Float is a gesture that involves a light, floating motion of your arm, as if floating on air. This gesture can be used to express a feeling of peace or contentment. The Drama Coach – Float

By incorporating these powerful gestures into your public speaking, you can capture the attention of your audience and make your presentation memorable. With practice and confidence, you can become a more effective public speaker and make a lasting impression.

So who was Rudolph Laban?

Rudolf Laban was a Hungarian-Austrian dancer and choreographer who is known as the father of modern dance. Born in 1879, Laban was one of the most influential figures in the history of modern dance, helping to develop its scientific foundations and introducing a system of movement analysis and evaluation.

Throughout his career, Laban wrote numerous books and articles, including Kinetographie, a book on the mechanics of movement, The Movement Alphabet, a book about body language, and The Dynamics of Movement, which focused on the physics of movement. He also wrote a series of essays on the history of dance and its relationship to human behavior. Laban’s work was recognized by the International Dance Council and in 1984, he was inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame. Today, his legacy lives on through the work of his students, who continue to explore and develop the principles of modern dance.

Donald Trump has a lot of Charisma. What!

Whether you love him or abhor him Trump has charisma, otherwise, why would anyone follow him?

The first one is emotional expressiveness

These are all things we can work on.  Depending on your personal circumstance we can all vary either our voice, facial expressions and gestures or all three. For example, we can modulate our voice, we can smile and tilt our head quizzically as a gesture.

The second one is empathic concern

Donald describes empathic concern as “the ability to read others’ emotions, feelings, and attitudes, and the ability to demonstrate that you are sympathetic.”

Third Savoir-fare

This is a bit trickier, as some people would rather die a thousand cuts than work a room. I don’t mind working a room, but unfortunately, I don’t get any further than the first person I meet, much to their displeasure. What you might like to do here is to pick your battle.  Pick the event that you are going to make an all-out assault on, take a buddy and go for it.  Make it a game and see how many people you can meet.  Make it fun, not a nightmare.

Lastly verbal elements

Here charismatic people “speak in “picturesque” language, make good use of metaphors, use vivid storytelling to convey images and meaning”

We can do this as well.  If we know there is an event coming up, do some homework and prepare a

  • short anecdote about something that happened to you recently and practice it so it comes out  the way you want.
  • Find a metaphor. Humorously refer to your partner as a couch potato” or quote an artist like Bob Dylan describing your life by saying “Chaos is a friend of mine”
  • Memorise a vivid short story.  You’ll need a new one each time though.

Thanks to Donald Riggio we have four tactics to make us more charismatic and some ideas from me.

Public Speaking Rehearsal techniques to maximize your success

Lynda Katz Wilner in her blog article “Tee Up your Speech – Golf is like Public Speaking” gives twelve terrific tips for delivering a successful presentation. I like all of them but in particular tip #4 and thought I might add my thoughts as well.

Tip #4: Practice on the Driving Range to Develop Muscle Memory; Play When You’re on the Course.

Lynda highlights the importance of rehearsing out loud, so you know exactly how the words sound. I remember participating in a debate and as a public speaking coach, I was confident that I could effectively deliver my message and content. Because the topic was familiar my preparation involved just using self-talk – going over the content in my head. At the event the next day I started my 3-minute piece and as the words came out, I realised they were wrong in this context! So, the lesson is no matter how confident you are, or how many times you have given a speech, always rehearse out loud. So that’s the verbal element, we also need to look at the nonverbal.

When rehearsing we need to make sure we practice all the nonverbal elements such as pace pause, projection, movement, gestures, and facial expressions. One way to ensure success is to over-accentuate the nonverbal element. For example, if you were saying that something was a big opportunity, then when rehearsing stick your arms out as far as possible to emphasise the size of the opportunity – to the extent that it feels silly. The reason we do this is threefold. First, so we know what it feels like and can refine it and become comfortable with it. Second, because we know that if we rehearse at 160% of where we need to be, then when we go to do it live, we will be closer to 100% of where we need to be. The last reason is to ensure that our nonverbal aligns with the verbal. As Albert Mehrabian discovered in his research “one would be hesitant to rely on what is said when the facial, or the vocal, expression contradicts the words.”  For example if we say we are excited and don’t sound excited, then people are less likely to believe us.

Video for business communication 5 keys to success

For 13 weeks each year starting in March, I teach at Swinburne University in The Media and Communications Department. Covid and teaching in lock down has meant that lectures needed to be recorded and tutorials done online in 2020 and face to face in 2021. So, what did I learn? Lots of things, but one of the most powerful tools was the use of video.

Five things to know about video

  1. Show your face.  This doesn’t mean all the time but at the beginning or end is important
  2. Make sure each video doesn’t go for any longer than 10 minutes.
  3. Be prepared to do a lot of editing the first few times through.  You’ll pick up a lot of delivery and content issues you didn’t know you had!
  4. Production quality is important.  Put time and effort into working with your camera, lighting, and sound quality – your audience will appreciate it.
  5. Write a script – if only for an opening few minutes.  If it’s important – script the whole thing.

In a corporate context, think about how any applications there may be.  Here’s  list by Shahan Zafar from Vidizmo: 10 Ways to Use Video for Your Company’s Internal Communications

  1. Conduct live CEO broadcasts and announcements
  2. Modernize and streamline corporate governance strategies
  3. Announce regulatory updates and policy changes
  4. Administer safety, health and organizational training sessions
  5. Broadcast organizational events live
  6. Take charge of corporate transition communication & change management
  7. Record and share team meetings and presentations
  8. Promote social learning, collaboration and knowledge transfer
  9. Reform your recruitment and induction strategies
  10. Manage departmental communication and realignment

But why video?

  1. Accessible – you can listen, read (subtitles) and watch anywhere at any time.
  2. Engaging.
  3. Adds life to the subject matter.
  4. Cost effective.
  5. Easy to do.
  6. Gives you clarity on the subject.

If you haven’t already – give it a go, you might surprise yourself as to its effectiveness.

How to Deliver your Presentation and Crush your Fears at the Same Time

There are three types of pauses:  silent pauses (no sound), filled pause (filled with ums ahs etc), and breath pauses. Consider consciously taking a diaphragmatic breath, so that’s its not really obvious, at key points in your presentation, such as when you change slides. In addition to giving time for your audiences to think and you time to think it can have positive effect on public speaking anxiety (Kimani, Shamekhi & Bickmore 2021). We also know that this type of breathing can be effective in helping us to think more clearly even if anxiety is not present.

Kimani, E, Shamekhi, A & Bickmore, T 2021, ‘Just breathe: Towards real-time intervention for public speaking anxiety’, Smart Health, vol. 19, 2021/03/01/, p. 100146.

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