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Myth about Effective Public Speaking

Myth about  Effective Public Speaking

EPS is the acronym for Effective Public Speaking. Often the efficacy of effective public speaking skill is overrated. No doubt all great leaders are powerful communicators. Does that mean all popular & great leaders without exception had an impeccable and immaculate oratorical skill?


I wish to share an analogy which a trainer for building confidence used in order to convince a group of audience on the need for developing public speaking skill. He called out for a volunteer. The volunteer came. The trainer asked the volunteer, “How would you feel if I keep a bag of 100 bricks on your head?” Volunteer replied, “very heavy; but still can manage” Trainer, “what if I keep removing bricks gradually and finally you are left with only one brick on your head?” Volunteer, “Very light pleasant & easy”(with a conspicuous expression of relief) Trainer said, “yes.. Someway if you can confidently speak in front of 100 people, you can easily talk to one person”

  • Is the comparison correct?
  • Talking to 100 people is same as talking to one person?
  • Is not the process of communication different?
  • Is not public speaking a monologue?
  • Is not one to one communication a dialogue?

Are not the intonation & physiology different in both the context?
I say with emphasis that the efficacy of effective public speaking skill is overrated. In order to be successful I life one need not necessarily have public speaking ability. When I get enquiry call from individuals wanting to develop public speaking skill, invariably the reason they quote for developing public speaking skill is to be more confident in life and present well and face even strangers with ease.
Let us know what EPS cannot guarantee

  +    Overcoming the fear of public speaking

  +    does not automatically make you a ‘fearless person’,

  +    does not automatically make you entirely shed inhibitions & fear

  +    does not automatically make you a pleasing person

  +    does not make you a strategic& charismatic leader

    Yet I am sure many would agree most of the politicians’ speeches are empty sounds, may be         momentarily entertaining or engaging. 

     +   Verbal gimmicks  does not make you automatically successful in life The classic example is       Politicians, Politicians mostly are great no proof for veracity.

Effective Public speaking skill is needed only for those who have the need for addressing meetings on an ongoing basis as a part of their life activity. Public speaking is not a needed daily activity for everybody. When something is not needed why carry the guilt of not having enough? Is it not a burden?  Everyone does not need to be an effective public speaker. Developing courage to speak in forum is not the only way to overcome fears in life. It is not necessary to overcome shyness and inferiority only by way of overcoming the fear of public speaking.

It is a misnomer to say that an effective public speaker is an effective communicator. Many of such persons fail in one to one conversation; Many mostly fail to pay attention to the respondent; Many have the urge to only impress the respondent with verbal gymnastic or manipulate with word play.  

In my observation an effective communicator has a greater degree of empathy & respect for the respondent than a person who is fearless about public speaking. Everyday communication is to strengthen heart more than just reaching the ears.

It is being regularly injected into the minds of gullible seekers of self-development that EPS is a must for effectiveness in communication. While overcoming the fear of public speaking may give a person a feel good factor or may give a raise in self-esteem and also a sense of accomplishment, it is not a fool proof way to overcome shyness and it is not the only way to raise self-confidence. EPS is not the only way to develop effectiveness in communication. On the contrary over dependence on EPS is counter productive to effectiveness in everyday communication. Learn the skill of public speaking; don’t lean on the effectiveness of public speaking alone.

We are living in an age where people are glued to gadgets of communication that texting a message in short form is easier than calling and speaking out. We are living in an age where people have lost the practice of dropping in casually and chatting heartily without specific agenda
One to one human connect is fading gradually to global connect via internet. The joy of small talk is receding. Nevertheless on any given day we all spend more time in private conversation/communication than group communication through public speaking. This one to one communication makes or breaks our day or our relationship and in the process our life.
Communication is not simply about expressing ideas or sharing information. Communication through conversation buildsrelationship, heals a troubled heart, empathizes with a troubled heart and extends support. Smooth conversation soothes a sick mind and comforts the being.

It is everyday conversation that makes our life.
                A careless word may kindle strife,
                A cruel word may wreck a life,
                A timely word may level stress,
                A loving word may heal and bless.
                            - Author Unknown

“Speak what is useful, and speak not useless words. Though spoken well, even if one word is uttered with evil, it will wipe away all the accrued good” says Thiruvalluvar Even with the lowly speak softly says a Tamizh adage Is it not clear from this that we need to develop the art of private speaking? You, as a reader of this article, naturally start appreciating this view and become a sought after conversationalist and influence people to become popular.

H.U.R.T your way for an interesting conversation 

HEAR:   Pay attention with your ear. Hearing is not simply an act of receiving the words. Hearing is honouring the communicator. Non-verbally you say to the person  that you respect him. Listening is the word being emphasized. Listen with curiosity. Acknowledge his view.

UNDERSTAND :  After receiving the words understand with good intention and non judgmentally. If something is not clear ask for details and seek clarification then & there. Leave out assumption. 80 % of management problem is communication problem says Peter Drucker, the management guru. This communication problem is due to unclear understanding or misunderstanding only.

RESPOND :  Being responsive is vital for life; responsiveness builds credibility. Respond verbally &non verbally. Verbally acknowledge with words like ‘yes’, ‘hm’, ‘I understand’, ‘is it?’ Non verbally nod your head, show curious eyes, avoid scrolling mobile or receiving calls When the person is talking avoid bumping into the subject with your view or opinion or trespass her privilege area or personal space. Response must be to just acknowledge their point of view. You may agree or may not agree to their view.

TOLERANCE:  Tolerating differences is essential for healthy relationship through effective communication.
Each person responds to their map of reality says NLP, the science of excellence in communication No two human beings are alike in all aspects. People are not of thesamemould. Tolerance for ambiguity is one virtue leaders develop in their mission to guide the team for greater performance.

If you can understand the differences without rejecting the person and find a workable model to coexist then you surely metamorphose your surrounding as heaven, a peace haven. Conversation helps to bridge hearts. This HURT will surely comfort people who come to converse with you.   
Effectiveness in everyday communication is more important than effectiveness in public communication on an occasional event.

Let’s make this world a beautiful place to live by developing responsible communication skill. Develop the ART OF PRIVATE SPEAKING SKILL.

            “An empathetic ear is more effective in communication than an eloquent mouth”

About the Author:  Mr. V RANGANATHAN, is an NLP specialist,  Author- Speaker-Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and also a Corporate Trainer. You could reach him on

Founder - VRnlp Training and Consulting, CHENNAI.