Words Pack a Punch

Over forty years ago, drifting through my undergraduate years in my ratty easy chair, I came across three words that lifted the veil from my eyes.  Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, the Three Musketeers of rhetoric, seemed to me to be so comprehensive, so simple yet so profound, that I literally had a physical sensation as though the top of my head was coming off.

Sam Leith has written a timely book with a nifty title on the subject of ...

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Make it look simple and easy

I subscribe to Lapham’s Quarterly, a magazine you should get if you have an appetite for a perspective beyond the micro-moments of our digital age.

As you know, I’m in the business of helping knowledgeable people sell themselves and their ideas.  As we count down to the next presidential election, this is a timely topic to consider.

Skillful public speaking, presenting, and debating require knowledge of the topics under discussion, but knowledge is not sufficient.  To ...

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Public Speaking: The Big Fat Issue

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” — Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican President who was committed to checking the power of elites. His remark that I quote above is apt for our time. I don’t know if it was true then, or if it’s true now, but the thought that it might be true gets my hackles up.

If we looked at every government of every ...

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The Greeks gave the gift of public speaking

I am on a boat going from Athens to the island of Serifos, but I’m still thinking about all those ancient Athenians who dug up the guiding principles that create the foundation of public speaking, persuasion, and the entire modern communications industry.

Demosthenes was one of them, “supreme in vehemence and power,” or so we hear from history.  He was the guy who failed miserably when he first spoke in public, and then shaved the hair off ...

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Public Speaking: On the use of TelePrompters

Many people acknowledge that President Obama is a good public speaker.  At the same time, many note a significant difference in the quality of President Obama’s speech between those occasions when he uses a Teleprompter and those when he speaks extemporaneously.

They assert that his oratorical gifts are actually not as great as they seem because when he speaks without a teleprompter he says “er and uhm” like the average oratorical duffer, and often pauses awkwardly once he ...

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Public Speaking: Talent or Skill?

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 ...

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