What lengths would you go to in order to become a master orator, or to take your public speaking to the next level?
Stand barefoot on blacktop while reciting your speech to test your patience and create proper cadence?
Practice on a tightrope to master balance and control over motion?
Of course not – and you shouldn’t!
I wrote about Demosthenes and the lengths he is rumored to have gone to in order to become one of the legendary Orators of the Greek Empire, but I left out one.
Michelle Koop, who runs a wonderful website –The Word Wit – reminded me of what has to be one of the most painful of all historical training regiments.
Legend has it that when Demosthenes would present one shoulder would rise above the other, creating an awkward physical posture.
What did he do to correct it?
It is recorded that he hung a sword just above shoulder level, so that when his shoulder would begin to rise, the sword would prick him, triggering him to lower it.
(I would advise strongly against doing this yourself!)
The point of both posts is not to drive one to try anything potentially dangerous to improve presentation skills; it is to drive home the point that the vast majority of those who are considered to be legendary orators worked very, very hard to get there.
Remember that the next time a presentation is coming up and the urge to just “wing it” and focus on other things arises.