Speaking Tips : The Power of Passion

The writer presenting to a live audience
The writer presenting to a live audience

Welcome to another Speaking Tips Hub

The difference between a good speech and an outstanding speech is the Power of Passion. When we’re presenting our heart-felt beliefs, our most earnest wants, our most emotional moment from memory, we are at our grandest. An audience senses from the aspects of body language, voice, and that something intangible which carries its indefinable energy to that audience. A Martin Luther King carries the day because he feels a tremendous passionate resentment against racial predudice; a Winston Churchill a great love of his country.

Such passion is born of sincerity

Such passion is born of sincerity, and this is why so few career-politicians have it. It marks the difference between a politician and a statesman. It is unlikely that a real statesman would use a speech writer to pen his scripts. If he drafted his speeches at all, he would do it himself. Or if, on the off chance he didn’t, what was actually delivered would bear little resemblance to the words penned by someone else. They would be his words, his phrases

If you want to be outstanding the speech must be yours, not that of a ghost writer

I remember hearing an American comedian make the remark, when he’d heard that a certain big-time businessman always got his secretary to write his speeches say, “Well, that being the case, why didn’t he get her to deliver them?” Good point. How sincere can a leader be when he gets someone else to write his speeches and then he reads them out from behind a lecturn? Surely he’s only being a mouth-piece for someone else? Where’s his real power, his power of passion?

Speaking Tips : Gladstone vs Disraeli

Some years ago I watched a television program in which two actors portrayed the English leaders, Gladstone and Disraeli. Each of these two presented a speech before the British Houses of Parliament. Gladstone, was the much older and more sophisticated – a man who had served as Prime Minister on two separate occassions between 1868 and 1892 – spoke first. His eloquence was outstanding. His grasp of words, clever phrases, alliteration, pauses. He had the audience hanging on every word. Applause at the end was long and loud. He was then followed by the leader of the Tories, Benjamin Disraeli, who spoke against Gladstone’s parties proposals.

Passion and sincerity carried the day

In the television show, if not in life, the actor playing Disraeli came over with a passion which carried the day. He was nowhere near as practiced and professional as the wily old Gladstone. But he had something on that occasion the other did not: his words burned into the hearts and minds of the listeners with their sheer earnestness, honesty, truth! At the end of his speech he got something extremely rare in a house filled with cycnical listeners: a standing ovation!

Speaking live is still the most effective form of communication

Such passion! Yes, the power of passion cannot be underestimated. it is born of sincerity. Mark my words. The oral presentation given live is still by far and away the most influential means by which someone can be persuaded. It has more than the written word going for it, more than the film or television presentation. It is the strongest of all. This is why, despite the technology of the day, when a leader wishes to present something of importance he does it before a live audience, before a group in front of him. Sure, it may be being filmed. It may be going to air as a live telecast. But that man is speaking to the live audience, those people before him. He’s doing this because he knows in his heart that this is the truest, most natural form of communication from one human being to another.

I hope you have gained from this Speaking Tips essay.

Keep smiling.

Tom.

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