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10: Air Force Speaking

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    This chapter covers:

    • Verbal Communication
    • Non-Verbal Communication
    • Overcoming Anxiety: Some Simple Steps
    • Common Non-Verbal Quirks
    • Delivery Formats: Impromptu, Prepared and Manuscript
    • Preparing Your Slides

    Sooner or later, you will have to speak in public. It comes with being in the military, there’s little you can do to avoid it, and the requirements will increase as you climb the ranks. If the thought makes you nervous, you’re not alone! Research shows that most people place fear of public speaking second only to fear of dying. If you are inexperienced, the fundamentals and tips for polished speaking in this chapter will help you solve these problems.

    One goal should be to improve your self-concept as a speaker. Think positively, and focus on improvement, not perfection. Like writing and listening, speaking is a skill; once you grasp the basics, the rest is practice, polish and style. You may be embarrassed by your initial mistakes, but keep practicing and you’ll see improvement with time. Few of us will become guest speakers, but all of us can become more effective if we practice the basics. Learn all you can from your contemporaries; some of them are accomplished speakers. If you are already a speaker extraordinaire, share your views, tips and personal hang-ups about speaking with others. Everyone improves when they receive timely and objective feedback.

    Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.
    -Joan Ballard and Steve Sifers

    Before you consider the fundamentals unique to speaking, you may want to review the chapter 2 summary of the Seven Steps to Effective Communication; the Seven Steps are just as necessary for good speaking as they are for good writing. Although there are subtle differences in the drafting and editing sections, the general concepts apply. Indeed, these basic principles are a good place to start when preparing an oral presentation, but we all know there’s more to it than that. Let’s talk about delivery techniques by discussing the verbal and non-verbal components of delivery separately.


    1. Analyze Purpose and Audience
    2. Research Your Topic
    3. Support Your Ideas
    4. Organize and Outline
    5. Draft
    6. Edit
    7. Fight for Feedback and Get Approval

    This page titled 10: Air Force Speaking is shared under a Public Domain license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by US Air Force (US Department of Defense) .

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