When I was a high school speech and debate teacher, etiquette was not something that we ever stressed. However now, as an etiquette educator, I understand how etiquette offers an easy bridge to the subject of speaking when an audience is present.
And this is true whether you are speaking to a large audience, a small group, or sharing your views at a neighborhood get together.
If you've ever taken a class in public speaking, you know there are certain criteria to aim for in order to present yourself as a competent speaker.
While these criteria are very important in making an effective presentation, etiquette requires more. When a person is “etiquette-ful” he is mindful first of the other person or persons in the context of a situation.
Whether giving a talk at a PTA meeting, a motivational speech to a thousand people, a pep talk to your sales group, or presenting an impassioned plea to a group of potential donors, you would know your environment, the reason you are there to speak, and the demands of the occasion.
Presenting yourself in a confident manner gives your audience a level of comfort. They want to know that you are a professional, that you know what you're talking about, and that you want to educate them with your information.
Nearly everyone gets nervous before giving a speech or presentation - that's the nature of the beast of public speaking. But when you focus on having confidence for the sake of others and providing the comfort they need to like and trust you and the information you are presenting, it helps take the burden of self-consciousness off of yourself.
You can present yourself confidently when you:
There are people for whom public speaking comes naturally. But this doesn't necessarily make them effective speakers and presenters.
A practiced speaker not only knows how to talk in front of people, she knows how to talk to people. She presents her material in a confident, respectful manner. She makes eye contact with her audience and feeds off their reactions. During Q&A she listens thoughtfully and answers each question respectfully.
A practiced, etiquette-ful speaker presents herself or himself in a way that draws an audience in. This is why they are typically better leaders, educators, and entertainers. Don't you want to be one, too?