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Leadership And Great Speaking Are A Team


When I listen to great orators like speeches given by Barak Obama, or I listen to older speeches by Bill Clinton and even older ones given by Martin Luther King, Jr., I am looking for one trait in each of them that ties them all together. They (and other great leaders) have contributed a great deal to our society to make it better. They each have their own brand of charisma and an ability to "connect" successfully with their audience's. But there is one distinctive trait that each of them has that catches my attention. And that is great public speaking.

I am a professional speaker and am constantly searching for ways to make my speeches and presentations better. I always listen to political leader's speeches, speeches given by leaders in the technological field and even to the 5:00 p.m. news broadcasters. There is something to be gained from each one. But what I'm listening for and looking for is what makes them so great.

I believe political leaders are so successful because they generally have the pulse of the people's emotions and heartstrings to get and hold their attention while they deliver their branded and labeled opinion. But what I seem to pick up on almost immediately is the speaker's perceived sincerity and their ability to lead people. I want to see if they can lead without the prepared speeches and the tele-prompters. 

Can the polished, political and perfectly prepared speaker lead without being given a demographic of his audience or being told what the income makeup of a particualr group is. Sure these things are key to giving a good speech, but a speaker who speaks from their heart is able to successfully deliver a spech to anyone at anytime, no reservation. However, this is only if it's done...from the heart.

Over the years that I have delivered speeches, I have only been successful when I felt confident and passionate about my topic. Even if the topic was particulalry boring to others, I nailed it because I felt it. By the same token, there have been times when I have failed miserably because I was trying to please everyone in my speech. Make everyone feel good and tell them what they want to hear. This doesn't make a good speech-maker nor does it make a good leader.

Are you a leader AND a public speaker? Do you think that having polished oratory skills make you an effective leader?

4 Comments/Trackbacks

Now that I think about it, I can't recall any great leaders who aren't also good speakers. I'm sure there may be some, but speaking ability is certainly an asset to a leader.

You are right, Laura. Without proficient speaking skills, leaders are inneffective.

Yes. Without proficient speaking skills, leaders are inneffective. Even they can not become a leader, right? But I think maybe we can not be eloquent as the leaders, to be an eloquent speaker does not seem a bad thing. Ability is not innate, but comes through practice. Just as the book 'The 108 Skills of Natural Born Leaders' describes:
http://www.dealstudio.com/searchdeals.php?deal_id=96729&ru=279 , we all are (or can become) natural born leaders!

Great post Bridget and thanks.

For me, the answer is yes and no:-) - the polish is one's speech is only as great as the ability to hear, react and promote other voices in one's midst. We've all been grieving the loss of Galba Bright - and he had the unique quality of helping others to speak and feel heard. This is what I try to do (and on a good day get it right:-)) when I address crowds. It's also how the brain works best. What do you think?

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