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I participated in a speech class in college and while I successfully learned all the terms and types of speeches, I was never very good at putting them into practice. I wouldn’t speak loudly or slowly enough and typically I stared at a blank, empty space rather than making eye contact with the audience.
Maybe my failure at public speaking sparked from my prejudice that this particular art form isn’t really all that important. It’s not necessary to speak in front of others, I concluded.
How wrong I was.
Several local events have revealed making a speech can be vital to achieving any objective.
During the Hope Pregnancy Center’s banquet, the guest speaker Dan Rosencrans used words to rally people into supporting the center. He did this by coaxing people laugh, shout out “Amen” and applaud.
It wasn’t through photographs or a PowerPoint Presentation that won Rosencrans the audience’s attention; it was what he was saying and how he said it.
In order to make speaking a true art form, at least from what I observed during the banquet; that you have to believe in your speech’s subject.
Risebcrans was passionate, from his own experience of having a large family and being a station manager of Family Life Radio, a Christian radio station, he felt strongly about an a benevolent organization that offers assistance to young families and women in a crisis.
But his art was also light-hearted; he sprinkled humor into his message. Because of his large family, Rosencrans said, many people speculate he is Mormon or Catholic. No, he said, they are just Baptists having a good time.
Expressing humor and strong beliefs seem to have a significant impact; by the end of the event people were pulling out their checkbooks to make a donation to the Hope Pregnancy Center.
Another example of the art of speaking appeared during the final County Council debate Oct. 22.
The debaters, Vincent Chiravelle, Manuel Baca, Ken Milder, Sharon Stover and Mike Wismer, showcased their knowledge and to prove they had the best answer to questions.
While it’s hard to formulate an entertaining response to dealing with power outages or capital improvement projects, the candidates skillfully wove, in their answers, pieces of their own lives, current events such as the World Series, and little quirks including campaigning while grocery shopping.
Of course, speaking can only go so far. Listening is essential to complete a speech. To truly appreciate this art form, to truly benefit from it, open up your ears and allow them to enjoy the art of speaking.