Public Speaking Pyramid

When aspiring public speakers begin to slightly step foot into this, they are usually bombarded with tips and advice to succeed but if there’s one systematic approach that succeeds in guiding public speakers, it’s the public speaking pyramid.

Public Speaking Pyramid

What is the Public Speaking Pyramid?

Public speaking pyramid is a renowned concept that helps aspiring public speakers learn the art and become proficient in it.

  • The bottom level of the public-speaking pyramid is Public Speaking Foundations, which includes the foundation of a public speech – speech purpose, topic selection, and audience analysis.
  • The next level is Speech Preparation, which includes research, organizing, and support.
  • The top level is Speech Practice, which includes verbal delivery and nonverbal delivery.

In this article, we’ll cover each level of a public speaking pyramid in detail.

Public Speaking Foundation

Most public speakers struggle with the starting point of their speech. Their public speaking aspirations often start with the question, “Where do I start?”

The public speaking pyramid will show you that the first few steps of public speaking is speech purpose, topic selection, and audience analysis.

3 foundational aspects of a public speech

  1. Purpose – The Foundation
  2. Preparation
  3. Practice

Let’s get started with Public Speaking Pyramid

Speech Purpose 

Public Speaking Pyramid

Do You Know What’s The Purpose Of Your Speech

The first question you’ll want to ask yourself before writing a speech is – what is the basic purpose of the speech you’re about to give?

As per the experts of public speaking, a speech has three basic purposes. Either it is given to inform, persuade, or entertain large crowds.

– To Inform: The first purpose people can have for public speaking is to inform the crowd about a specific topic. It involves giving other people information that they do not currently possess.

– To Persuade: The second purpose of a speech is to persuade. When you persuade another person, you are attempting to get that person to change their  thought process or behavior.

– To Entertain: The third reason people can have for public speaking is to entertain. Some speeches are curated specifically to be more lighthearted and entertaining for audience members.

Topic Selection

Spend Sometime In Topic Research and Make Sure You Choose The Topic On Which You Feel Confident.Once you know the purpose for your speech, the next step is topic selection. You need an overarching topic for your speech. Your speech topic should be in sync with your speech purpose for it to be impactful.

Moreover, you have to consider the time limit before picking a topic. If you only have a 2-3 minutes window, you shouldn’t pick a topic that needs a lengthy discourse.

Neither should you pick a short casual topic if you’re supposed to be giving an hour long lecture.

Additionally, the topic should be appropriate—both for you as the speaker and for your audience. One of the biggest mistakes amateur public speakers make is they pick their hobby as a speech topic.

Remember, it may be you giving the speech but the audience’s preferences hold more value than your favorite speech topics.

Audience Analysis

Public Speaking Pyramid

Before Stepping To The Stage, You Should Know Who Your Audience Is

The third part of public speaking foundation is to find out whether an audience will find a speech useful and interesting.

Audience Analysis is the process which will help you effectively. Just as the title implies, the goal of this process is to analyze who is in your audience.

It involves knowing about the audience demographic, their likes and dislikes, how familiar they are with the topic of your speech, and so on.

Speech Preparation 

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the building blocks of effective public speaking, move on to the second tier of the pyramid and start preparing a speech. This is the time to create the speech itself with the help of research and organization.

– Research: Research is the core of a good speech. To give an impactful speech, you’re going to need to research your topic thoroughly even if you are considered an expert on the topic.

It will help you organize your thoughts for the speech. After a thorough research, you’ll have relevant facts, theories, examples, quotations, and arguments.

– Organization: The next step in speech preparation is to organize your thoughts and create an outline of your speech. All effective speeches have a basic structure: introduction, body, and conclusion.

– Introduction: The introduction is where you introduce your audience to the main idea of your speech and pique their interest. An effective introduction should capture your audience’s attention.

It can be done through a captivating title or an interesting quotation from one of your sources or a story that leads into the topic of your speech.

– Body: The main part of your speech is what we call “the body” of the speech. The body of the speech is generally broken down into a series of main points that a speaker wants to make.

– Conclusion: After you’re done talking about the two or three main points in your speech, it’s time for a memorable conclusion.

The conclusion is usually delivered by clearly restating the basic idea of your speech (thesis). It’s good to leave your audience with some thought provoking lines that make them remember you.

Speech Practice 

Pyramid Public Speaking

Once Your Speech Is Ready, Practice As Much As Possible So That You Can Capture The Audience Effectively.

Once you’ve finished creating the structure of your speech, it’s time to work on delivering your speech effectively. Remember, “practice makes perfect”.

The speech practice tier or top level of the public speaking pyramid is all about that. In this section, we’re going to highlight the two fundamental aspects of practicing your speech: verbal and nonverbal delivery.

Verbal Delivery

Verbal Delivery In Public Speaking

Keep Practicing Your Speech To Improve Your Verbal Delivery.

This is all about how you actually deliver the speech using our voice. After creating an outline, practice how to effectively deliver a speech verbally and become comfortable speaking from a set of notes.

To get used to speaking in front of people and to get constructive feedback, we recommend that you ask a few friends to serve as your practice audience.

Nonverbal Delivery

Apart from the verbal speech delivery, the non verbal clues also play a crucial role in public speaking. While there are many aspects of nonverbal delivery we could discuss here, we’re going to focus on only three of them: eye contact, gestures, and movement.

– Eye Contact: One of the most important nonverbal clues you can exhibit while speaking in public is gaining and maintaining eye contact.

When you look at audience members directly, maintain eye contact as it helps them to focus their attention and listen more intently to what you are saying. On the flip side, when someone fails to look at audience members while delivering a speech, it’s easy for the audience to become distracted and stop listening.

– Gestures: A second type of nonverbal communication is gesturing. Gesturing is the physical manipulation of arms and hands to add emphasis to a speech. Gestures should be meaningful while speaking. You want to avoid being at either of the extremes: too much or too little.

If you gesture too much, you may become very distracting for an audience. At the same time, if you don’t use gestures at all, you’ll look stiff and disengaged. Knowing how to use your hands effectively will enhance your speech delivery and increase the impact of your words.

– Movement: The last major aspect of nonverbal communication is movement. As with gesturing, new speakers tend to go to one of two extremes of movement while speaking: no movement or too much movement.

On the one end of the spectrum, you have speakers who stand perfectly still throughout their session and on the other end are the speakers who do not move at all.

When it comes to movement, standing still and incessant pacing are inappropriate for public speaking. So, plan out beforehand when & how you’re going to move while speaking.

Learn the Art of Effective Public Speaking 

The public speaking pyramid is your guide to preparing and delivering an effective speech publicly but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There’s so much more about public speaking one can learn before stepping on the stage.

Most people give up on their dream of becoming a great public speaker because they feel like it’s too difficult or impossible. They never learn the techniques that will let them overcome any fear of public speaking.

This online course will help you become a powerful public speaker. You’ll learn how to craft an experience that opens people’s minds and pierces their hearts, and explore the techniques that will let you overcome any fear of public speaking.

Learn Public Speaking Online with Emerge Global!

Learn Public Speaking

Book your slot for a Free 15 Min Coaching Session where you can clear your doubts and can know more about this public speaking course.

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About Author

Jeremiah O`Brian
Master Teacher  | USC School of Dramatic Arts

Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.

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