Who do you admire as a public speaker?
Can you imagine the people you admire for their public speaking skills? According to articles published around the world in places like Canada, Indonesia, the United States, England, Australia, and New Zealand, to name a few, public speaking is one of people’s top fears. In the United States, a National Speakers Association Certification Program provides opportunities for individuals to try out and get trained in public speaking. Becoming an internationally qualified public speaker takes years of speaking, earning speaking-related income, and ongoing assessment. Most people don’t want the status of international public speaker; They just wish their throat didn’t close up, their pulses didn’t race, their brains don’t go blank, and their muscles don’t fire at the thought of speaking in front of a group of people, strangers or not.
So who do you admire as a public speaker? President Barack Obama has received praise for his public speaking skills and has praised past greats like President Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as gifted and inspirational speakers. Cicero, Joan of Arc, William Wallace, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Betty Friedan, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham, Barbara Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, are just a few of the people who display power in their words, memorable rhetoric, captivating phrases and the ability to connect with audiences.
Study people you admire as public speakers. What do they do? Where are they standing? How do they move? What methods do they use to open or close their speech? Can you find a pattern or plan in each of his speeches? What role do the illustrations play? How often do they quote other people? Is humor present? Can they bring a tear to the listeners eyes, and do they? What are you wearing? How do they use their hands, their voice, their themes? Why do they speak in public? What energizes your life? What are your goals? Who do they depend on for support and ideas? What is your academic background? Do they have some unique life experiences?
People you admire as public speakers can be your role models as you work to develop public speaking skills. When Chief Justice John Roberts got the word order wrong for Barak Obama’s oath of office, the oath was still recited because both men took the mistake in stride and knew the gist of it. The day after the inauguration, Chief Justice Roberts went to the White House so that President Barack Obama could record the oath before witnesses, perfect speech. Words rarely jump from the lips in perfect alignment and emphasis the first time, especially when one is under pressure. Your role models have made mistakes. Read their biographies. Take a careful look at how they learned to develop their public speaking skills and how they overcame embarrassing moments. You can learn the same skills. You can become a wonderful public speaker. If you can!