Public Speaking: Talent or Skill?

By on June 13, 2008

Public speaking is a talent before it becomes a skill. A talent is a latent ability, something that is dormant inside you. When you work at it, it becomes a skill.

If you do have a potential talent for speaking and you work at it, you are likely to receive encouragement and recognition for your talent, which then makes you want to continue, which in turn helps you get better.

However, if you don’t have a talent for speaking, but nevertheless work at it without receiving encouragement and recognition, you are likely to give up, and will therefore not develop the skill.

The hard thing is to persist in the face of discouragement.

Churchill passed out when giving his first speech in the Commons.

FDR bombed over and over again when he was a young Secretary of the Navy. His wife Eleanor thought he was hopeless.

Woodrow Wilson had terrible nerves and worked like a fiend to overcome his fear.

And our own Bill Clinton was booed for his interminable speech at the 1988 Democratic convention.

Yet he, and all the others, went on to become highly respected communicators.

I feel like quoting someone famous on the subject of persisting.

Emerson: “Move confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

Or the great Japanese folk saying: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

It’s the only way to sculpt talent into skill.

 

 

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