In your role in the member development cabinet one of the most important things that you will have to execute on consistently is grasping your audience’s attention and maintaining that attention throughout the duration of a member development session. This can be accomplished by becoming knowledgeable on public speaking, presenting and facilitation skills and tactics. Throughout the course of this blog I will introduce each of those areas to you from a high level in order to give you a fundamental understanding of what goes into public speaking, presenting and facilitating, but it will ultimately be up to you to take initiative in practicing these tactics in order to prepare yourself to become a dynamic public speaker, presenter and facilitator.
Did you know that when someone is speaking, the audience is judging them subconsciously on their non-verbals more than their voice or their word choice? That is why the fundamentals of public speaking have very little to do with the actual content of the speech compared to the things that you do while speaking. The public speaking fundamentals at their core are what make someone a great presenter and facilitator. In order to become great at public speaking, you must learn and know the six fundamentals to public speaking, which are:
1) Posture/Stance – Where you position yourself and your body language
2) Eye Contact – A dominant human sense that is a very important form of non-verbal communication
3) Voice – The way that you use your words such as tone, pitch, volume, inflection, rhythm, and rate
4) Gesture – The way that you animate and express yourself that if done strategically can benefit your speech
5) Strategic Silence/Pausing – An advanced public speaking skill that is used for effect in various ways
6) Purposeful Movement – Using your movement to benefit your speech and maintain audience engagement
Giving a presentation is a one-sided affair that relies on the presenter to convey a message to an audience, involving the audience very minimally. There are three things that make up a presentation and that you should be cognizant of in order to make a positive impact when presenting. Those are the content, the delivery and the audience. Let’s take a quick look at those:
1) Content – The information or message that you will be delivering to the audience
2) Delivery – The delivery is essentially the six fundamentals of public speaking
3) Audience – The group who will receive the message from the presenter and likely will need to act based on the information presented
Facilitation is different than presenting in the sense that it is far more interactive between the audience and the speaker (in this case the facilitator). Facilitation is also designed for longer sessions because it is appropriate for when learning needs to occur. Facilitation is something that is not just two-sided, but multi-sided. The material isn’t just from the audience, but individuals in the audience, and other audience members may interact and respond directly, rather than through the facilitator – that’s part of what makes it so tricky. Think about the differences between presenting and facilitating this way: A presentation is like a commercial flight where the pilot knows where they are going as well as the exact path they will take, and the passengers are just along for the ride. Facilitation is like training a dog. You know what you want the end result to be, but sometimes your canine friend has other plans. The path to the destination could take thousands of different shapes or forms, and the facilitator’s job is to respond to the audience in a way that GUIDES them to a conclusion, rather than just telling them.
In essence, a facilitator is someone who:
- Conveys information
- Facilitates discussions by questioning, listening and guiding the course of conversation
- Gives directions for activities
- Debriefs activities
Although facilitating and presenting require different skills and tactics, it still relies on the six fundamentals of public speaking to ensure that you are being as effective as possible.
In order to maximize your potential in becoming a dynamic public speaker, presenter and facilitator, I’d recommend you take an in-depth look at the training resource titled the TPE Educator Toolbox to aid in your development as a speaker. That resource will go into far greater depth of public speaking, presenting and facilitating, compared to this blog which was meant to give you a high-level introduction to those skills. You can find the TPE Educator Toolbox in the myPIKE Resource Center in the vice president of membership development folder.
Devon T. Teixeira
Director of Membership Development