How Public Speaking is A Great Tool for Social Impact and Advocacy

Jan 23, 2024 6 Min Read
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Public speaking is a powerful tool to drive change, raise awareness, and bring impact.

We live in a hyper-connected world now. People can connect with each other, drive social and political movements, induce action, etc., despite geographical barriers. In an era like this, the power of effective communication can’t be overstated - which brings us to one of the quickest and most inspiring tools - public speaking.

This may interest you: Master the Art of Speaking: Prof. Patrick Winston's 60-Min Guide to Effective Communication | MIT Lecture

There are many examples of speakers who brought societal reforms through effective public speaking. In this context, we are sure that you remember the power-packed Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech of Malala Yousafzai, in which she advocated for the education of girls. Her words made a great impact and encouraged millions of people to work toward building a society free from gender discrimination and equal access to education for both girls and boys. 

Public speaking has the power to arouse emotional responses among the audience and shape their perceptions, behaviours, opinions, and beliefs. It can help you inspire action and defy norms by motivating a large number of people all at once. However, it’s important to understand the nitty-gritty of public speaking before using it as a tool to make a social impact.

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The article sheds light on how public speaking is an influential tool to drive social change and advocacy. Walk with us as we unravel how!

What Is Public Speaking for Social Impact and Advocacy?

It is using public speaking skills (speeches and presentations) to advocate causes and bring positive change in society. The purpose is to educate, generate empathy, rally individuals and communities around critical causes, and promote activism.

The idea incorporates the following –

  • Promotion of an idea, concept, cause, or information.
  • Answers to the existing concerns.
  • Working towards a specific goal and common values.

Key Features of Public Speaking for Social Change and Advocacy

Below are five pillars that can bridge the gap from being an ordinary public speaker to someone who can really inspire action and change.

1. Empathy and Compassion

We are emotional beings and can quickly form connections with a number of people based on this very trait. Great public speakers tap into this human tendency to reach people on an emotional level. 

It instantly makes them a part of the whole, relatable, and human-like. People listen because they know that the speaker understands and has been through the same things.

2. Tell a Story

Right from childhood, we are hardwired to stories. It can captivate us, motivate us, and unleash our imaginations. A great orator can and does take us on that journey by including enchanting stories and catchy anecdotes. 

We are immediately transported to another time and start living those moments. Stories can help us draw parallels, make the message instantly clear, and even show a glimpse of the future. If you want to make a lasting impact, try incorporating storytelling in your speech.

3. Be Real and Authentic

You can’t expect to drive change with your speech if you aren’t convinced yourself. There must be a connection between your words, emotions, and mind if you genuinely want to influence people. So, be honest with yourself and others when you pick up any social issue.

People will appreciate your speech more if they find you passionate about the topic. You can go through all the great speeches of the world and will find no aberration from this rule.

4. Research Well

There is a reason you stand in front of the podium rather than sit among the audience. It’s your knowledge about the topic and your passion to share with others. Half-cooked knowledge and research will make you lose credibility as a speaker. 

Also, your audience deserves accurate and detailed knowledge when they choose to give you their time. Research the topic thoroughly to get detailed insights. It will help you be confident and highlight the cause appropriately.

5. CTA (Call To Action)

Yes, you want to inform and persuade people. But your speech will be incomplete if you don’t get people to act in some way. A CTA fills that gap.

It motivates people to act and get involved. Your CTA might direct people to activities like signing petitions, volunteering, or making lifestyle changes, etc., to support the cause.

Supplementary reading: Why A Successful Presentation Is All In Your Mind

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Quick Tips to Ace Your Speech and Create Impact

  • Work on your communication techniques consistently to perfect them. Nonverbal communication, like eye contact, facial expressions, body language, etc., is equally important for a persuasive delivery. Be mindful of your vocal variations and delivery as well.
  • Try to involve people in your speech, if you can. Allowing them to pose queries and interact with you will drive better engagement and inspire active thinking.
  • Gather all the necessary information and research about the topic. You can present your case better, give strong arguments, and persuade people more.
  • Work on your storytelling techniques. The more you will be able to fascinate people and stir emotions, the more unforgettable your speech will be.
  • You can also include persuasive language and rhetoric like ethos, pathos, and logos (ethics, emotions, logic) to add more gravity to your speech and win over people. It will also help make your idea more concise and impactful. 
  • Take the help of visuals and audio clips to strengthen key content and add more variety to your speech. You can also use professional presentation templates to convey your message clearly.
  • Try to collaborate with grassroots organisations, activists, policymakers, stakeholders, etc., to get hold of diverse perspectives and resources. It can result in stronger movements, networking with like-minded intellectuals, and adding more credibility to you as a researcher.
  • Practice techniques like breathing exercises and self-affirming talks to overcome speaking anxiety.
  • Practice your delivery to remain calm in unfavourable situations. You can join a public speaking club/organisation, public speaking master classes, etc., to receive the right guidance and feedback. 
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Read more: 5 Tips on How to Ace Public Speaking

You can also take the help of books, TED talks, webinars, workshops, conferences, and activist groups to learn and grow. 

Summing It Up

Public speaking is a powerful tool to drive change, raise awareness, and bring impact. It’s an opportunity for the speaker to shed light on critical and important topics and motivate action.

Through a great speech, you can build empathy and inclusivity and open a channel for discussion towards a solution for all.

Hone your public speaking skills and take the help of the above tips to shine as an orator. Be the catalyst for positive changes, and do your bit towards creating a better world!

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Ashish Arora is Co-Founder of SketchBubble.com, a leading provider of result-driven, professionally built PowerPoint templates. Travelling the world to gather new creative ideas, he has been working in the digital marketing space since 2007 and has a passion for designing presentations. 

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