Public speaking is the number one tool of leadership because when you get people in a room to hear the same message at the same time you have the greatest chance of moving them to action.

I remember my high school coach Bud Blake giving our football team an inspirational tongue lashing after a lousy first half. We came out in the second half with a vengeance and beat the pants off our rivals.

And then there is Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, so short, concise, and targeted that it moved Edward Everett, the keynote speaker of the day, to say:

"I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."

Lincoln's central idea was the north's legal right to prosecute the war against the slave holding states, and just as the original colonies declared their freedom from the British Crown, the north had the right and the obligation to forge a "new birth of freedom" for the enslaved.

Don't waste your opportunities. The glue that holds people together is a magical mystery sauce of trust, emotion, and shared purpose. In business, in politics, in religion, and even in science, speeches and presentations are key opportunities for creating and sustaining that magic.

"Adapted from The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking by Sims Wyeth. Copyright 2014, 2011 by Sims Wyeth. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved." Available at Amazon.

Published on: Aug 30, 2016
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