Whether you want to excel in public speaking, in making professional presentations, in seminars, conferences and group discussions or even in casual conversations, you should learn how to articulate your points. The points you wish to make may be just plain facts, analysis of information, critical views or considered opinions about a subject or presentation. The way you present them should make others listen to you and understand you clearly. This is what articulation is all about.
I have observed great speakers fumbling and inexperienced people making their points clear through a simple and cogent presentation. What makes the difference is not the knowledge you possess but how you present them. The following tips will help you in understanding how to articulate your views and opinions.
1) Be clear about what you want to say: ‘Of course I know what I want to say’ you may protest. But often you may find that you get stuck at some place or go astray with no clear direction. Making a presentation is very much like making a journey. You should know where you want to go, you should know the route you are going to take, you should know the mode of travel and you should know what preparations you need. For example, if it is a long journey, you will have to make plans for food arrangements during the journey. Using this analogy, the first thing for you to decide is what you are going to say. Are you giving information or presenting your case? What is the outcome you expect? Then you need to plan how you are going to make it. Where will you start and what points will you cover? Will covering these points take you to the desired destination? The third thing is to decide on the tools. What can you do to sustain the audience’s interest? You may do this by telling a story, sprinkling your presentation with humor, by making the audience involved through interaction etc.
2) Once you have planned your presentation, check how effective it will be. You will have to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and perceive your presentation. You may be able to identify areas of improvement. You can also rehearse your presentation with a friend and use his or her feedback to improve upon this.
3) Rehearse your presentation: Remember that most of the great speakers make it a point to rehearse their speeches. Rehearsing your presentation will not only reveal to you areas of improvement but will also improve your confidence while making the actual presentation.