The following short paragraphs demonstrate that by learning public speaking we are “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” and exercising the rights our forebears have won for us:
The “art” of public speaking has been with us for a long time as evidenced by books written 5000 years ago. Homer’s epic poems written in the 9th century B.C. contain speeches.
The first book written to help the reader in public speaking is believed to have been written by Coax in 500 B.C. and it is to him along with the early beginnings democrary that the roots of public speaking.
The Ancient Greeks recognized public speaking and rhetoric to be an important field of study. In 300 B.C Aristotle wrote the Rhetoric , where he discussed public speaking theory of his time. Quintilian in the 1st Century taught public speaking and wrote 12 volumes called The Education of an Orator. He believed that public speaking training should begin at 6 and carry on through their formal education. Cicero, the greatest Roman orator made orginal contributions to speech theory. Other significant contributors are Socrates, Gorgias, Pericles, Isocrates, St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, Sir Francis Bacon, John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Woodrow Wilson.
Public speaking has always prospered in times of democracy where freedom of speech and the right to assemble in groups are core principles. These rights have been won through bloodshed and even now must be watched closely to ensure they are not eroded. To effectively exercise and preserve those rights it is important that we develop our public speaking ability – and it could even be considered one of our obligations to speak effectively.
It could also be considered that by learning to speak effectively in groups and in public speaking we improve ourselves but also exercising our democratic rights we are also helping to preserve them.
Fortunately we live in a time where public speaking has evolved where it easier than ever before to be proficient because of the great information available and it is the ideas conveyed that are of more importance than showmanship or the 100% grammatically correct use of English.
(Information courtesy of Willim S. Smith & Donald J. Canty)
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