The Power of Personal Appearance and Visuals, Essay Example

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Essay

Public speaking, specifically on the advanced level, can be a dynamic factor in personal success as well as the progress of one’s association or cause. For those who excel at the fine art, the world appears open and abundant with opportunity, but there are many who view public speaking as the road block to their success in life. Two essential factors of delivering an effective and convincing public speech are the use of tools like visual and audio aids, and the attention one pays to their personal appearance.

In Jeff Davidson’s book, “the Complete Guide to Public Speaking,” when addressing the concept of personal appearance he notes that audience notice body language before they analyze words. It’s Davidson’s belief that no matter how eloquent one’s speech if their body language does not parallel their argument, they won’t be convincing.  Davidson goes on to say, “One way to win audiences over is to make your motions expand. Think upward and outward. Most speakers restrict themselves. They get “smaller.” They hold their heads down. They don’t act as if they own the spaces in which they speak (Davidson, 2003).” The author is adamant about the idea that personal appearance is more than just the way one dresses, or the way they wear their hair; it’s a combination of character traits that distinguishes them from being a person who demands and deserves attention and one who does not.  Of course, this is an advanced public speaking concept. On the basic level of honing one’s personal appearance to command the type of attention that will empower a message, clothing attire does influence how the audience will respond. Dress professionally at all times, but dress for the room as well.

Incorporating props for visual impact can emphasize an argument to better get a point across.  In Scott Smith’s “Everything Public Speaking Book,” he mentions a prop technique commonly used by great orator and former President Ronald Reagan noting that, “Props can make a big impact. For example, President Ronald Reagan once held up an enormous stack of paperwork about a proposed budget. He then theatrically dropped it to the floor and declared he would not approve such a budget (Smith, 2008).” Techniques like these take advantage of the old adage ‘a picture says a thousand words.’ All of these ideals can be implied with one symbolic visual image. Likewise, the use of graphs, flowcharts, and diagrams can clearly define statistics or that support an argument. Technology has also expanded the market for audio and visual tools. By connecting a television screen, or projector through an HDMI cable to one’s computer, they can surf the internet in the idle of a presentation. This allows the presenter to stream video, access web resources, and utilize live tools that might be more urgently relevant to a topic than could be done with an offline prepared presentation. A presentation prepared offline, the traditional style of presentation, is only as relevant as its last edit. In comparison, the ultimate advantage incorporating a live internet connection offers is the ability to have a video conference in front of the audience. This makes the world an interview pool, the potential guest commentators a speaker can have assist and add credibility to their presentation is only limited by the caliber of influencers in their professional network.

In sum, the act of public speaking isn’t rocket science, but neither should it be taken lightly. Technology has evolved to provide an endless array of tools and techniques in the audio and video sector to improve presentation effectiveness and quality. Attention should also be paid to one’s personal appearance as it can make or break the initial first impression of a speaking engagement. Combining these two factors can have a dramatic influence on the actual presence one holds in a room. Being attentive to one’s personal appearance and incorporating props as a valuable tool, can give a public speaker the extra credibility they need to be both informative and unforgettable.

Work Cited:

Davidson, Jeff. ( 2003). The complete guide to public speaking. [Books24x7 version] Available from http://common.books24x7.com/toc.aspx?bookid=5407.

Smith, Scott S. ( 2008). The everything public speaking book: deliver a winning presentation every time!. [Books24x7 version] Available from http://common.books24x7.com/toc.aspx?bookid=28448.

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