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On Oration

I’ve taken few speaking classes yet I find I do quite well. In fact I teach public speaking to teenagers on occasion. Oration is more than reading a speech and doing it well. One can speak a great deal and say absolutely nothing. A very quick look at the art of speaking is warranted, I have many friends who although they may be able to write, find it very difficult or impossible to actually stand and speak.

To begin with, some people are born with more talent for speaking (or less shame, it’s a possibility), there’s nothing for it. However it can be learned to a large degree. It’s not enough to grasp and perform basic tasks such as annunciation and controlling the rate of speaking, nor is it enough to be able to memorize or use only cues on a note card. One must read the great speeches of history and stand on the shoulders of the great orators that have come before.

Adolf Hitler is probably one of the best speakers to ever live. Although you may not understand the language, a lot can be learned by reading the text and watching and listening to the maniac speak. Watching and listening, but I can’t understand? Yes, indeed. Old Adolf is a good example because you can sense the power and authority in his speeches, the message becomes almost meaningless. Just listening to the man can occasionally give you a tingle. Why is that important? Because the ability to speak is the most dangerous ability we have.

Getting away from the insane, one should take a look at Ronald Reagan. Again, don’t think about what he is saying, watch and listen to how it’s said. A pretty soft spoken man yet he exudes a similar sense of power. He spoke simply almost all of the time, without the great flourish of old Adolf, but was an incredibly powerful speaker.

Finally I just want to touch on Barack Obama. His speaking ability was like a force of nature in the beginning. Extremely impressive, it’s very likely that it carried him to the White House. Unfortunately, he wore himself out. That was apparent by the time the first 3 months of his presidency had gone by. His main trouble is his speaking style, it bothers me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a much better speaker than I could ever hope to be, but he has drastically gone downhill. If he has any hope of winning the next election he needs to put on his game face and find the energy he has lost.

Just a few examples. Anyone wishing to improve their speaking skills needs to start out taking a look at other speakers, it can go a long ways to helping you find your own style. Again, it not enough to simply be able to read an essay, if you don’t have passion for what you are saying, you will most likely fail. Remember also that speaking is in some ways far easier, for example, I have never mispeled a wrod when spaekng.

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