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Use rhetoric when you speak in public

Consider how you may use rhetoric when you speak

Words are powerful. They can bring us to tears or raise us to the heights of joy. How can you consider and use rhetoric when you speak in public?

Behind every perfect speech are hours of hard work. Sir Winston Churchill was fanatical about thorough preparation and worked as hard in his seventies to prepare a speech as he did in his early years.

He regarded each speech as a work of art and said this:

“Everything is worked out by hard labour and frequent polishing. I intend to polish till it glitters” Winston Churchill

Churchill would spend days testing words and phrases as he paced up and down, cigar in mouth.  Only when he was satisfied would he sit at his desk and revise what he had written. He had a goal to “please the ears” of people.

How to use rhetoric

“… the art of using language so as to persuade or influence others; the body of rules to be observed by a speaker or writer in order that he may express himself with eloquence” – Oxford English Dictionary

Rhetoric isn’t some ancient form with no relevance today – as the definition says it is “the art of using language so as to persuade or influence others.”

That is exactly what you are trying to do when you speak before an audience. Try using rhetoric in your next speech.

Whilst we may not be trying to be one of the century’s greatest orators it is a great skill to be able to apply these proven techniques to your speeches to make them more powerful and effective.

One simple but effective trick is repetition

Although you wouldn’t do this in everyday conversation when applied to a more formal speech it can be very powerful. Take these famous examples below.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people” Abraham Lincoln

Never in the history of human endeavour has so much been owed by so many to so few”  Sir Winston Churchill

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn”  Benjamin Franklin

Perhaps the most famous example is Martin Luther King’s,

“I have a dream speech”

This powerful speech uses the same phrase in the first six successive paragraphs –  ‘I have a dream‘ and then seven paragraphs with the words ‘let freedom ring.’

This speech is one of the world’s most moving, the repetition does not get boring or distracting. It serves the purpose to emphasise the message and make it stick in the hearts and minds of the audience.

So why not give it a try and add rhetoric to your next speech.

About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.