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Master Public Speaking in 7 Days ...Foreword and Introduction...
Foreword by Andrew Capon
If asked, few people would confidently
declare that they are good at public speaking. Most would dismiss the question
as irrelevant. On the rare occasions we think about speaking in public, our
mind’s eye conjures up a lectern and an expectant audience of dozens, or a room
full of overly exuberant wedding guests.
Perhaps this is the one of the last
unconscious legacies of classical education. We are taught about rhetoric, the
art of discourse. The Greek philosopher Plato described the goal of rhetoric as,
“the persuasion of the ignorant in courts and assemblies.” This had a particular
resonance for our Victorian forebears in the grand public schools who were
destined for careers as administrators in Britain’s far flung empire.
The schoolboys of a former age could define
assonance and use rhetorical devices on speech days and in their debating
societies. John F Kennedy’s speech writer Theodore Sorenson would doubtless have
known that, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for
your country”, was an example of antimetabole.
For most of us, however, it is a memorable
phrase, recalled as much for its delivery as its eloquence and imbued with a
particular poignancy in the light of subsequent events. This is a point
persuasively made in this guide. Words do matter, but they matter less than you
or polished rhetoricians might imagine.
Very few of us will stand in front of a
crowd of tens of thousands at the US Capitol with many millions watching at
home. But most of us in our jobs will be asked to present a point of view to
clients, our bosses, or peers. The size of the audience is immaterial. Our goal
is the same as Plato’s Athenian Assemblymen: to persuade.
Any amount of fancy rhetoric will only get
you so far. How you walk into that meeting, how you stand and confident and
controlled speech are far more important. These are lessons you learn as a
journalist early on. If you shuffle into a meeting room and sit five seats away
from your interview subject, while he or she sits at the head of the table, you
have already ceded control of that space.
You have also sent multiple messages, all
unconscious: I don’t feel comfortable; I am meek and overawed; I will listen
attentively because you are more powerful. Then the interview starts. If your
interlocutor has a command of his subject he will assert this control further.
There are still times, now thankfully rare, that I will walk out of an interview
thinking it went well. Only when the tape is played back does it become clear
that the interviewee has said very little, but delivered it in a convincing and
Finance ministers, CEOs and successful
hedge fund managers, like to be in control and will seize the opportunity to
assume it. For some, this is innate. Their success has come because they are
natural leaders. But for every “natural”there are just as many who have been
expensively taught by personal coaches, PR men and “resting” actors. But us mere
mortals need not despair. There is no magic fairy dust that is sprinkled over
masters of the universe at birth.
This book offers a practical approach to
unleashing your inner leader. Alex Joll is an expert guide. There are few people
who can live up to Rudyard Kipling’s exemplar of filling “the unforgiving
minute/ With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run”. But whether in the kitchen,
on the lecture circuit, behind a desk or (once in a while) down the pub, Alex
Capon, award winning financial journalist, investment strategist, writer,
editor publisher and racing tipster.
The aim of this book is to teach anyone to
deliver a great speech after just 7 days of training and practice.
What is a great speech? First you need to
decide what you want to achieve. If you are delivering to a prospect, trying to
get a sale, or convert people to your Point of View (POV) then this is your
If you are speaking to convert people to
your way of thinking (POV) – support a charitable organisation for example –
that is a similar goal.
You may be the Best Man at a wedding and
want to give a good speech – that would most likely include stories and humour,
which are tricky to get right. You need to engage the audience and have them go
along with you – adopt your POV.
Whatever your reason for speaking in public
you can have maximum impact and effect in just 7 days with this course. Master
Public Speaking in 7 Days is designed to help you influence your audience. It
will also build your confidence and enable you to turn any nervousness you have
into positive energy to enhance your performance.
Public Speaking is not just speaking to
large groups. I include any audience in public, from 1 to a multitude. The same
rules apply if you want to be effective and get your POV across.
In this 7 day course we will look at all
the subtle aspects of speaking. For example: 67% of your message is non verbal –
that is nothing to do with what you say. It all has to do with your body
language and performance. You need to be consistent across the 67% of non verbal
communication as well as the other 33% of verbal – only about 5% to 10% of which
is the actual content of the speech.
I remember a comedian from the 70s always
saying “It’s the way I tell ‘em” – and delivery is most of the success of
humour. A great current example is the British comedian Michael Macintyre. He
moves swiftly across the stage, smiles and laughs as he tells stories and shakes
his head in such a way that his hair moves in a distinct fashion (have a look at
him on YouTube if you get the chance). What he says is not particularly funny
most of the time. But he delivers it in such a way as to have audiences in
stitches, and he sells millions of DVDs. In short; he is engaging.
Some people seem to be naturally adept at
speaking to groups, they have charisma. People often look at them and say “I
could never do that” – but you can, we all can and through this course you will
Take Bill Clinton, ex-president of the USA.
He is a great communicator. He has style and lots of likeability. But this was
not all natural; he had to learn a lot of these skills and practice, just look
at some of his early speeches for real proof (his 1988 party conference speech
is a rambling mess and he is cheered when he finally says he is coming to the
end). When it comes to speaking in public, practice makes natural. In other
words, the more you do this, the more you will relax and feel comfortable in
presenting to audiences.
Then the more relaxed and confident you
are, the more effect you will have. Most of the things you will learn come
naturally and just need some attention paid to them. Some are a little harder
and may take more practice.
Each day we will look at a few key aspects
of public speaking. There are exercises to do, which can be fitted in at odd
spare moments in your day. If you commute to work or drive for work, this is a
great time to practice.
By day 5 it will all be coming together and
you will see how easy it is to master these techniques. By day 6 we will look
more at your audience, and ways to practice to help progress even quicker.
Then on day 7 we will look at modelling,
which is a great way to gain confidence and help give a great performance.
By the end of the week you will have the
confidence and power to speak and influence your audience. Then each time you
have an important talk to give you can review all the days and give a great
persuasive speech each and every time.
Speak with confidence, speak to influence,
speak and win your audience with Master Public Speaking in 7 Days.
Note: This book is very hands on, so you
will need to do the exercises and build your speech as you go along. You will
need pen and paper, and most importantly, a large quantity of Post It notes.