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Technology Turning the Page in Public Speaking by Samantha Cheng

VSA Future | Global Speech Series

     Once upon a time, in an unimaginable and foreign era, public speaking was plainly just giving a speech to the audience in front of you. And plot twist! Technology plunged into the sea of public speaking and undeniably stirred the waters. It’s impossible to determine if the birth of technology has transformed us into a utopian or dystopian society. Even with all of its endless positive light, technology has dug very dark and irreversible holes in corners of our perilous lives. But in the waters of public speaking, there’s no other way to put it. Technology has been an unceasing blessing.

     Human beings since the discovery of sliced bread have changed wildly, but one everlasting trait remains. Our desire is to be lazy, to embark on the easy route, and to live forever in the peak of comfort and practicality. Technology in public speaking grants us significant convenience and gifts us with an easier way to prepare for our presentations. You no longer have to handwrite every word or every point of your speech out. All it takes is opening a new document on your laptop and easily tapping a few keys. When you find errors in your speech, or you find room to add new words or sentences to improve your speeches, there’s no need to rewrite the entire speech, erase a whole page, or squish it into the margin. Simply drawing no more than two minutes, anything in the speech can be easily accessed and altered on our computers. When practicing, you are able to precisely see what the audience sees just by recording yourself on your phone camera. You can hear exactly what the audience hears just by starting a voice recording. To supply yourself with facts and even inspiration for your speeches, you can conduct a five-second Google search instead of a five-hour library journey.

     The gravity to every single speech, the focus of every single speech, is the audience. The main determining reason you are speaking in the first place is to educate the audience. The audience holds the pen that draws the line of categorizing the speech as good or bad, and they are the judge you are striving to please. If you eliminate the audience from a presentation, the presentation feels nearly pointless without an ear to hear. Technology opens the gate and widens the spectrum by delivering you a golden opportunity. With the magical doings of cameras, and the enchanting apps of YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms, your speech can travel much farther than just an auditorium. Your audience isn’t composed of just the physical group of people sitting before you, but it can sweep over people on the internet as well. Strangers, Egyptians, and a man on the moon are granted access to your speech if you choose to bless the internet with it. With technology as a strategy in your back pocket, your presentation can grow wings and fly to a plethora of listeners beyond your expectations. 

     Not only does the angelic technology expand your audience, but it also holds the powerful spell of engaging them. If you play your magic cards intelligently, technology can be the very golden string tying the audience to you. You have the ability to reel them into what you’re saying, to invite them into the bubble, to involve them in your speech. Through the tunnel of technology, the audience members no longer have to feel like an outsider looking through glass walls into your speech. They no longer have to be bored, no longer have to be confused. Instead, they are more than able to feel like part of what you are saying with the incorporation of technology. 

     What is the magical spell to lure the audience in? Technology allows us to embellish our presentation with not only words but attention-grabbing visuals. It can act as a pillar, establishing and annunciating points, but it can also serve as the glitter, sparking up your presentation. If you indulge in a recent public speaking presentation video where a speaker is speaking on stage, a recurring pattern jumps from video to video. Powerpoint presentations. Speaking while sliding through prepared PowerPoint that correlates to your speech can be an audience savior. Audience members might prefer physically seeing statistics or photographic examples to grasp what you are saying. They might be more attracted and more impressed by the colors of everything in your Powerpoint as you speak. Furthermore, it’s possible to even cascade into a higher level by interacting with your audience through technology during your presentation. Live to vote in polls, playing digital games, and virtual Q and A sessions are all crowd-pleasers that can only be achieved with technology giving us its helping hand. 

     And hitting dangerously close to home base, technology provides a different stage and platform for us to present our public speaking. With the treacherous and life-altering Covid-19 virus, giving speeches in public to a live audience was simply not a reality anymore. As mentioned previously, technology gives you a wider audience. But in this scenario and several others, technology is the one thing even giving you an audience in the first place, forget about a wider one. Smashing the barrier of quarantine, we were exposed to a new way to give speeches through online conference websites such as the iconic Zoom or Google Meet. Not every meeting can always be held in person due to health, location, or time restrictions, but technology and these online methods of the meeting can grill those restrictions. It’s truly and genuinely such a pretty thing that anyone from any corner of the world can dial into a phone or video conference and take delight in your speech. 

     As for plot twisting and as undeniably useful technology is in the realm of public speaking, it’s essential that we never forget that speech comes first, technology comes second. As advanced and genius as it is, technology does slip out of line occasionally. Wifi problems, glitches, and so on. Technology is nearly fully trustworthy, but it isn’t wholly foolproof. Technology should be the one embellishing and glorifying your speech. Your speech should not be the supporting role next to technology. Nevertheless, technology has treated us undeserving human beings all too well. We can conveniently prepare for our speech, use PowerPoint and interactive audience features during our presentation, and stand on an online stage to speak. Technology is truly the most infallible accessory to public speaking. Thanks to this life-changing gift, the people in the kingdom of public speaking have a shot at a dreamy happily ever after. 

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