the art of public speaking

The Online Shorter Oxford Dictionary (OSOD) says of art1 – a pursuit or occupation in which skill is directed towards the production of a work of imagination, imitation, or design, or towards the gratification of the aesthetic2 senses; the product of any such pursuit.

Art is about capturing the imagination by whatever means appropriate to the form being used for the expression. In the example of public speaking the form in which the imagination would be captured would be oral. It becomes the instrument3 of the expression.

And oral is performative; it is about images.4

When using public speaking as a means of communication, is your skill directed towards the production of a work of imagination; are you cunning or artful in how you go about how you create the performance in which you communicate your thoughts and ideas to your audience?

Standing on a stage behind a lectern5 reading out a set of carefully scripted written notes to a silent audience sitting in neat rows in front of you may indeed be public speaking but it’s not art. Sadly it’s about control.

© 2014 Pamela Neil all rights reserved. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela Neil with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  1. art – skilful or crafty conduct. Cunning; artfulness.
  2. aesthetic – the philosophy of the beautiful or of art; a system of principles for the appreciation of the beautiful etc.
  3. instrument – a thing used in or for performing an action; a means.
  4. performative – of or pertaining to performance; spec. (Philosophy & Linguistics) designating or pertaining to an utterance that effects an action by being spoken or by means of which the speaker performs a particular act.
  5. lectern – a tall stand with a sloping top to hold a book or notes, from which someone, typically a preacher or lecturer, can read while standing up.

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