Elements Of Public Speaking

Use the key elements of public speaking as a guide whenever you create a speech or presentation.

This is one of the secrets of effective speaking. It makes you a more persuasive speaker.

Also because it increases your understanding ... you guessed it ... the fear of public speaking begins to fade away.

Read on.

Why re-invent the wheel? In the Ancient World, speaking well wasn't a luxury, it was a necessity. There were no lawyers and yet people sued each other all the time! So you'd want to know how to argue in front of a judgmental audience.

What have we got to be afraid of, by comparison?

Aristotle's Three Ways To Persuade An Audience

The man who literally wrote the book (Rhetoric) over 2000 years ago worked out that there were 3 things involved in a speech (speaker, speech, audience) and therefore there were 3 means of persuasion (or appeals).

They were:

  1. Ethos - the speaker's character and reputation.

  2. Logos - the speech's logical arguments.

  3. Pathos - the audience's emotions.

Aristotle also recommended using them in that order to be most persuasive. ie start your speech by demonstrating your credibility, then move into the logical arguments and always finish with a good tug on the emotions. (Note: Conveniently the order is alphabetical E/L/P)

So the first of the elements of public speaking to think of is how you'll use Ethos, Logos and Pathos in putting your presentation together.

Cicero's Canons - How to ensure effective speaking

Several hundred years after the Greek Aristotle, the Roman Cicero gives us 5 important elements of public speaking to help us emulate his success (he is regarded by some people as history's greatest orator, so lots of Ethos wouldn't you say?).

  1. Invention - come up with what you want to say.

  2. Arrangement - how you'll structure your speech (eg Cicero's 6 part outline, or Monroe's Motivated Sequence).

  3. Style - how your words and sentences will work - be clear, accurate, vivid and appropriate.

  4. Memory - how you'll remember your speech.

  5. Delivery - how you'll use non-verbal communication

Cicero's 6 Part Outline for a Persuasive Speech

  1. Introduction - ethos - get them to like you and identify with you

  2. Narration - logos - state the facts of the case

  3. Division - logos - explain what is to be proven, both sides

  4. Proof - logos - make your case by argument

  5. Refutation - logos - destroy your opponent's argument

  6. Conclusion - pathos - sum up your strongest points, arouse emotion

Monroe's Motivated Sequence

  1. Attention - Hey you need to pay attention to this! - story, shocking statistics.

  2. Need - there's a problem, it's a big deal & it won't solve itself. And here's the proof.

  3. Satisfaction - Here's what we can do to solve the problem.

  4. Visualization - Here's what will happen if we do/don't solve this.

  5. Action - Here's what you can do.

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