The Art of Public Speaking by Richie Dayo Johnson

Public Speaking

Nothing is more inspiring than watching seasoned toastmasters in action. They always seem to be in top form from the moment they do the “call to order” and announce the arrival of the special guests and other dignitaries. “How do they do they do it?” You wonder.

The origins of a Toastmaster (also known as a Master of Ceremonies or Guardian of Etiquette) dates back to the 17th century, and has been a traditional fixture at Royal and formal social events for centuries.

Public speaking is an art and effective speakers recognise the power of a dynamic speaking image. They also understand that image is essentially about perception. When you get up to speak, your listeners are observing the entire package – you.  How you are perceived determines whether your audience truly listens to you and accepts your message. A well-defined speaking image is what separates the good speaker from a great speaker.

Those who attended a recent Richmond Johnson Masterclass on Public Speaking would attest to the fact that developing the speaking image that will work for you isn’t difficult. From the moment you walk up to the lectern, you’re on display like merchandise in a store window. In the first few minutes, your listeners will consciously and unconsciously analyse your appearance, message and behaviour. How well they accept you depends on how effectively you apply the goals of a well-defined speaking image.

  • Know your audience: Every aspect of your speech and the speaking image you want to project depends on who is in your audience. This will not only influence your dressing but your vocabulary, anecdotes and phraseology.  The occasion will also influence the words, stories and slant of your speech.
  • Creating a perception of competence: This is an opportunity to share your knowledge and technical mastery of the subject or event. When you understand your topic or event, you will speak with confidence and authority.
  • Create the perception of trustworthiness: Trust takes years to build and a moment to lose. Your audience will recognise your honesty as you provide credible sources for your statements. Relevant personal experiences add good flavour to your speech and make you appear sincere and real to your listener. Indulge them.
  • Perception of being approachable: Your audience will deem you approachable when they feel they can trust you. Despite the physical distance between you and them, maintain a high energy level and transmit that energy and excitement to your listeners. Use conversational style, facial expression, body language and gesture as tools to make each person feel that you are talking directly to them.
  • Don’t imitate, initiate: Don’t be tempted or fall into the trap of imitating the image of someone you admire. Develop you own distinctive trade mark which reflects your unique personal characteristics. Every individual is unique.
  • Thoroughly analyse the physical facilities at the venue, including the seating arrangements, lectern placement, lighting, sound system and positioning of special guests.
  • Be as close as possible to the programme or event planner. Learn the value of good timing and avoid communication gaps.
  • Practice makes better: Even the professionals practice. Visualise yourself as a success. Concentrate on your vocal variety including pitch, tone and inflection.

Today, most weddings are formal occasions and during the wedding reception require someone to co-ordinate, direct and announce the ceremonial proceedings such as the receiving line, speeches and cake cutting ceremony.

When you open your mouth, you don’t only tell the world who you are, you enter into the world of show business. The more you accept that, the more successful you will be.

My best wishes always,



14 comments to “The Art of Public Speaking by Richie Dayo Johnson”

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  1. Dzidula - January 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm Reply

    RDJ always on point! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yinka Ajijedidun - January 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm Reply

    A concern – can the art of public speaking be restrained only to the gifted (like acting is a gift).or its a subjective process that can be learnt by anyone?

    • RDJ - January 26, 2017 at 4:33 pm Reply

      Public speaking is a skill and like any other skill, it can be developed in a supportive environment where you are repeatedly reminded of your potential and not your limitations.

  3. Julie Mogbo - January 19, 2017 at 3:19 pm Reply

    This is so profound. Thanks RDJ.

  4. Kojo Biney - January 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm Reply

    Brilliant article. It makes me want to be ‘that’ speaker. Show biz, yeah, I like this.

  5. Francis Anyaegbu - January 19, 2017 at 7:56 pm Reply

    All you need to know about Public speaking beautifully encapsulated in one piece…nice one Sir. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Ikenna Uwaezuoke - January 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm Reply

    I have read this article over and over again and this quote keeps popping up, “When you get up to speak, your listeners are observing the entire package-you……. you are on display like merchandise on a store window”. Succinctly put, adept and truly a masterpiece. Thank you sir for sharing

  7. Zahed - January 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm Reply

    Written in classic RDJ style – some very salient points – very much enjoyed the read.

    Keep up the great work Sir – looking forward to a book on the subject penned by your good self.

  8. Fola Daniel Adelesi - January 19, 2017 at 9:09 pm Reply

    Excellent sir! I read as though I was sitting in your office and listening to you give the candid advice you gave as often as you could. Thank you for sharing openly.

  9. Segilola Awolesi - January 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm Reply

    ”Trust takes years to build and a moment to lose…” Hmmm!!! Authenticity is key…thank you sir for this authentic piece.

  10. Ifeanyi Omijeh - January 25, 2017 at 10:16 pm Reply

    So much to learn here. Thank you RDJ!

  11. Lucy Godwin - February 2, 2017 at 8:49 pm Reply

    Thank you very much sir for sharing this, had to read over and over again. Hope to be a good speaker one day.

  12. Stella - February 23, 2017 at 3:09 pm Reply

    Awesome public speaking tips to make one a pro. Thank you

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