When was the last time you sent an email, or a text, rather than making a phone call. Chances are, it was within the last 24 hours. It is often easier, takes less time and takes less energy. It is also less effective. Our voices matter, and make an impact on how our message is received. It can impact who gets hired, and who doesn’t. But don’t take my word for it.
“What is the object of oratory? Its object is persuasion and conviction…”
– Woodrow Wilson, The Princetonian, 1877
Princeton and public speaking have a long, storied history together. Princeton was also home to a public speaking expert and a student of the art of public speaking. This expert also happened to be a President.
In Princeton, the fingerprints of President Woodrow Wilson are evident everywhere.
The next legend in a series on public speaking experts is one of the greatest orators ever, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a legendary orator. We are lucky enough to have video clips of Dr. King to view, study and learn from.
Dr. King inspired, and continues to inspire people with the power of his speech and the power of his actions. His speeches should be staples on playlists and iPods as his speeches are inspirational even on dark days.
Public speaking for entrepreneurs? Absolutely! The reality is that a presentation, a pitch or “casual” conversations about your company all qualify as examples of public speaking. When I ask entrepreneurs about public speaking, I often hear “I don’t have to give speeches.”
Public speaking expert is a title that carries tremendous weight. Demosthenes, public speaking expert of the 4th century BC, is one of the legendary Greek orators. Some of his most famous (and my favorite) addresses of his relate to his opposition to King Phillip II of Macedon. Although he passed away in 322 BC, Demosthenes is relevant to 21st century orators because of his dedication to practice and preparation.
You’ve engaged your audience from the beginning of your presentation. They nodded as you delivered your message. Their eyes were locked as you wove through a carefully crafted medley of stories, anecdotes and analogies, all supporting your message. There’s no question; the majority of your audience agrees with what you’re saying.
Empowered, the time has come to bring your speech to a close, at which point you exclaim:
“In conclusion, I appreciate the time you spent listening about __________.
What do Winston Churchill, Warren Buffet and John F. Kennedy have in common? Sure, all three achieved extraordinary success – but all three also suffered from a fear of public speaking. And each one overcame their fears and went on to become gifted speakers.
The reality is that everyone gets a rush of adrenaline before presenting – it’s the normal “fight or flight” response. The key is to choose fight instead of flight,
“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”
– Nelson Mandela, 1994
Nelson Mandela’s life, legacy and contributions to humanity will be studied for generations to come.