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By Russ Kratowicz, executive editor
The first thing you must do is cultivate a good ethos—the reputation and character of a speaker or writer in an argument. Then come up with good pathos—the part of an argument that touches the emotions of the reader or listener. Finally, make sure that you have impeccable logos—the part of an argument consisting of evidence and the reasoning based directly on that evidence. Then, as did Mark Antony after Caesar’s death, you take control of the crowd by saying “Friends, Romans and countrymen. Lend me your ears.” And they do.
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One of the commonalties among so-called successful people is their seemingly innate ability to stand up in front of a crowd with no preparation and orate extemporaneously and comfortably for a period of time far longer than the audience would wish them to do. Also, successful people are comfortable delivering a technical paper at a seminar. They can argue their point of view persuasively at a staff meeting and affect the direction the company or department will take in the future. They are successful because they are either genuinely good at what they do or because they have everyone else buffaloed by how well they can talk.
Each of us is directly responsible for acting in our own best interest. Some people live to work. Others work to live. In either case, work is a common denominator. Since most of us have no choice about having to spend a minimum of 40 hours earning your daily bread, we might as well make the best of it. In fact, it might even be a bit of fun to see how far you can push your career or buffalo your peers.
Having fun with your career could take the form of being the champion that persuaded the gatekeepers to cut loose with some money and fund a great little project that is in the best interest of your company. The point I am trying to make is that being an effective public speaker is good for your career. So, let’s get started.
The College of Business and Administration, University of Colorado, has a Web page at http://bus.colorado.edu/Faculty/Lawrence/Documents/speaking.htm that can get you started to being a great orator. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page. One link goes to the Web site of Lenny Laskowski, who claims a long list of credentials and is an international professional speaker. On his site, http://www.ljlseminars.com/monthtip.htm , he posts speaking tips on a range of public speaking topics. Most are one-page quick reads.
There are many Web sites out there that give tips to prospective speakers. One example is the site the Communication Studies Department at the University of Kansas maintains—http://www.ukans.edu/cwis/units/coms2/vpa/vpa.htm . There are six basic steps in preparing to deliver a talk. These include determining your purpose, selecting and researching your topic, analyzing your audience, supporting and outlining your points, using visual aids and presenting the speech. This site gives you a good start on how to do these tasks.
An outfit called ChanneOne provides some reference links that might come in handy when you are going through the steps outlined in the presentation assistant. This site is aimed at high school students involved in competitive debate, but the information is universally applicable. Go to http://www.channelone.com/fasttrack/english/index.html and explore the sections on grammar, foreign languages, links to online dictionaries and thesaurus and more.
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization. The first Toastmasters club was established on October 22, 1924, in Santa Ana, California, by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, who conceived and developed the idea of helping others to speak more effectively. Toastmasters members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive environment. After all, the entire purpose of Toastmasters is to improve your ability to get up and do what has got to be done. This venerable organization has chapters around the world and you can find the group closest to you by visiting http://www.toastmasters.org/find.htm .
Some of the local groups maintain their own Web sites where they post useful reference material. One example is the Parramatta Toastmasters Club in Sydney, Australia. The corresponding Web site is http://www.users.bigpond.com/parratm/resource.htm .
Nearly every one of the sites referenced in this article suggest that outlining the speech is a fundamental activity that needs to be done. Do you remember the proper way to outline anything? For years, we have all seen bullet-point outlines used for some business purpose and assume that they are technically correct. We have all seen specifications written in outline format and make the same assumption. Since this public speaking is going to affect our livelihood, I thought it might be useful to go back to school to learn how to do it.
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