There is not one perfect way to give a speech, but as many perfect ways as there are people, although to speak effectively you must speak naturally.
Martin Luther King had the cadence and fervor of a preacher; President Clinton had a down-home charisma; and Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, in which he addressed the American people, over the radio, in his modulated and patrician way, made each listener feel he was speaking directly to him or her.
They were able to speak effectively, exceedingly so, because each was true to himself, and consequently could speak naturally.
Everyone is an original. But, unfortunately, a lot of speakers (and people in general) spend their days wishing they were somebody else.
The actor-trainers in our company are often told by those they coach in public speaking, that they cannot excel because unlike speaker so-and-so they are reserved, shy, unused to displaying emotion, have a regional accent, or a speech
These can all be good things, including the
You need not be a highly charged and emotional speaker to speak effectively. But you must be in harmony with your nature, true to who you are.
Fiorello LaGuardia always seemed true and natural. Affectionately dubbed “Little Flower” (the English equivalent of Fiorello), he was a character. At a portly five foot two, he was a complex, hot-tempered, ethical dynamo; spoke seven languages; and was a Republican-Episcopalian who had been raised in Arizona by a Jewish mother and an Italian-Roman Catholic-turned-atheist father. He is considered by many to have been New York’s greatest mayor. And he had an earthy way of expressing himself.
In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth became the first monarchs to visit the United States. In preparation, Americans had gone to great lengths to observe protocol, nervously studying what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do.
In New York City, amidst much fanfare, the Queen made a lengthy, formal speech in her clipped accent, and archly reserved manner. When at last it ended, legend has it that LaGuardia, joining her at the podium, exclaimed, “You sure said a mouthful Queenie!”
One little sentence from “Little Flower” and protocol went down the drain. Were people scandalized? No, they were elated. Their Majesties took it in stride as well. An hilarious example of someone who could speak naturally, be himself to the hilt at a lectern, with resultant success.
And to quote the revolutionary 20th century choreographer, Martha Graham, “There is a vitality, a life force…that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you, the experience is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost…”
In other words, speak naturally, speak effectively, on the podium (and off). To thine own self be true.