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World Class Speaking2009.12.23

    It is hard to pick a single skill that could surpass speaking as the key to success in your business or career.

    Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the bestselling books in history, was also a great public speaker. Another of his popular books was, How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking.

    Speaking is the primary way by which politicians win elections, sales people get business, and job applicants get hired for the position of their choice.

    It is also remarkable how many quotations about speaking actually have to do with restraint or silence! Abraham Lincoln said, “It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt.” Ambrose Bierce said, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

    And the proverbs of many cultures generally agree.

    Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.

    Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence.

    Silence is golden.

    That being said, no one ever won an election, a sale, or a job by remaining silent. The quotes on Storytelling are also revealing! Inspirational teacher and writer to many of Hollywood’s active screenwriters Robert McKee said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” Pulitzer Prize winner and author Studs Terkel, famous for his oral histories of Americans in different walks of life said, “Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too.”

    The storytelling proverbs are equally enticing.

    If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.

    We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.

    To be a person is to have a story to tell.

    In the West, public speaking was heavily influenced by the formalized approach of oratory and rhetoric, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. This was the model for public speakers for centuries, and had a formative impact on everything from politics to liberal arts education. However, storytelling is often at its best the form of folktales, theater, and cinema, and sometimes better modeled than taught.

    Because of massive information on multiple channels, aggravated by overexposure to advertising, people today are less wooed by persuasion and more by authenticity. Still, story is King.

    If you don’t have a story to tell, you risk being passed over unnoticed. If you do have a good story to tell, you will have an audience. The good news is that you will easily excel if you tell your own stories well in a natural style.

    The challenge is that unless you are naturally gifted, it takes too long to learn by trial and error. Vernon Law said that, “Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson.”

    When opportunity knocks, it doesn’t wait long to see if anybody is home. The sooner you improve your ability to speak well, the more likely you will be able to connect with the right people and obtain the right opportunities.

    Before crossing difficult terrain, it is best to consult an experienced guide who has crossed it before, and knows the route to safe passage. It is no different in speaking. Fortunately there are marvelous models for us to follow, as well as variety enough to find speakers that fit your style.

    With that in mind, I have begun collecting examples of great speakers with videos online, and adding comments to each on what we can learn from their presentation style. You will find not only videos and lessons learned from top presenters, but also a set of proven processes that will increase your ability to educate, entertain, persuade, and inspire other people.

    It is called World Class Speaking. You can learn from people who have climbed the mountain, and have come back as better people for it! Success leaves traces. You don’t have to figure it out, all from scratch. Visit and share in the sense of excitement that comes from learning world class communication.

    William Reed





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    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

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