The Art of Public Speaking

Speaking Effectively in Public

How often do you get your ideas across to your own satisfaction in public? How successful are you at convincing a crowd of the validity of your concept, the wisdom of your plan or the sense of your proposal?

If you live in a democratic society, there are many opportunities to voice your views in public. In London there are several ‘Speakers' Corners', the most notable in Hyde Park. There, anyone can air their ideas on any subject to anyone who wants to listen. And there have been plenty of speakers since its inauguration in the mid c19th.

In 1984, in another part of the globe - Monterey, California - the TED Talk was born. Starting out as a one-off conference, in 1990 the event became an annual event. Then in 2005, the talks were filmed and put on the web. By 2012, over a billion people had viewed a TEDTalk film.

The talks started out being focused on Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence the acronym TED). Today the subjects presented are more wide-ranging and the people who speak have only 18 minutes to get their idea across. TED presenters share a common purpose - they are people who "wish to change the world" and to do that the speakers have to galvanise all their powers of persuasion to convince a public which ultimately can consist of millions. Today, that power has to be one which will transmit via video and the internet, as well as to the live audience.

Voicing our views is an innate need in us. We also have a desire to hear other peoples’ views. But what makes one idea ‘land’ and another fall flat?

How to speak well has been a subject that we have been interested in – even obsessed with - since at least c5th BC. The Ancient Greeks cultivated the technique of persuasive speaking – an art known as ‘rhetoric’. But speaking isn’t really an ‘art’, rather a skill which can be taught – and therefore learnt.

If you want to influence others, the rules are simple:

• Set a clear objective

• Synthesize your message to suit your audience

• Structure the speech or presentation clearly (with an engaging opening and a call to action)

• Deliver it with impact.

The ancient orator Demosthenes was asked which of these was the most important. He replied "delivery". When asked which were the second and third most important skills, he replied "delivery and delivery".

If you have an idea you want to get across more effectively, call us today on:

+ 44 (0)20 8579 6662

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