November 24, 2008

Is public speaking back in fashion?

According to this article, a survey on voter influences in the recent U.S. election found that "public speaking skills are back in fashion."

Hold the phone. Let me get this straight. Public speaking was once in fashion. Then it went out of fashion? And now it's back?

I'm not sure how this survey reveals that public speaking is back in fashion, when there's no information on how voters were influenced in the past by candidates' public speaking skills vs. campaign rallies, radio and TV advertising.

Current survey results notwithstanding, public speaking skills are always in fashion, whether we are conscious of it or not.

People have always been influenced by "silver-tongued orators," even before Aristotle described ethos, logos and pathos as the keys to a persuasive argument.

Different styles of speaking may go in and out of fashion; depending on the decade or the century, we may prefer folksy conversation over preachy cadences or "straight talk" over rhetoric, and then we go back around the other way again.

But persuasive and effective speakers, whether entertainers, politicians, preachers, educators, CEOs, marketers or philosophers, have always influenced us and will continue to do so.

Stay tuned; I'll see what I can find out from the people who did the survey.

In the meantime, do you think public speaking is back in fashion? Do you think it went out of fashion?

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5 comments. Please add yours! :

Bert Decker said...

Good one Lisa. And actually, there is no such thing as Private Speaking anyway, we are all public speaking all the time. (Except in our thoughts.) Maybe a useful term is "formal speaking situations" like big groups, TV, meetings.

Rich Hopkins said...

...and Speaking Coaches around the world rejoiced!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comments, Bert and Rich. "Public speaking" is a bit of misnomer, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Definitely a misnomer. If you were "private speaking" to yourself, there might be a problem!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Or worse, Chris: "public speaking" to yourself!

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