Speaking Tips: Effective Speaking Public Speaking Delivery Part Two

The writer in action at an informal Christmas gathering in 2007

Always remember, we are evaluated in four ways: how we look, what we do, what we say and how we say it
Always remember, we are evaluated in four ways: how we look, what we do, what we say and how we say it

Public Speaking - Delivery Part Two

The Ancient Greek, Demosthenes of Athens, still reputed to be the greatest orator who ever lived, was asked, according to his biographer, Plutarch, “What are the three most important parts of oratory?” The great man replied,

“Action, is the first.”

When asked what is the second, Demosthenes replied,

“Action.” “And the third?”

“Action.”

By action, this great orator was referring to his delivery. In other words, the success of a speech, or a story orally told, is determined by how it is conveyed.

Why are 'experts' often boring to listen to?

Few people doubt, when they go along and hear an academic give a talk on his or her specialist discipline, about that person’s expertise; their knowledge of the subject. Indeed, the audience is particularly aware that the speaker is an expert; knows his or her subject backwards. Yet often audiences are bored silly by the discourses they are subjected to from such experts.

Why?

Not because the speakers aren’t interesting people who have interesting subjects. But because these ‘specialists’ have generally failed to put much store in the importance of delivery. If you, dear reader, bear in mind that, in oral presentation, delivery is at least equal to content, then you’ll be on the right track to understanding how to succeed.

The best speakers know how to use story

This snippet of wisdom comes from one of my books, The Raconteur - Speaking to Entertain, a little volume I penned after years of presenting stories to a great many audiences: some 654 in the past fifteen years alone. Since the early 1980s, when I went outside of the security of my Toastmasters' public speaking club for the first time, I've probably addressed some 40,000 people. And it was during this time that the importance of an interesting delivery style came home to me.

The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines a raconteur as ‘A teller of anecdotes, usually good, skilful etc.’ That is, he is a teller of tales, a storyteller. But in case you might think that a storyteller is not to be taken as seriously as the man who presents an oratorical performance, I point out that one of the most successful speakers of all time, one Jesus Christ of Nazareth, got the bulk of his messages across by telling stories.

The importance of delivery cannot be stressed enough

In public speaking and storytelling we are dealing with speaking to audiences ‘live.’ That is, in standing up in front of them; being in their presence. The Raconteur primarily deals with the telling of tales, telling them orally before a live audience, whether that audience numbers less than a dozen or more than 300. Whatever the number, delivery is always of equal importance to content. So bear this in mind as you launch yourself into your public speaking future.

I hope you enjoyed Speaking Tips: Effective Speaking Public Speaking Delivery Part Two and...

I wish you well.

Tom Ware

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