When you speak in public is being very well-spoken or more down to earth more effective?
School teachers found fault with Dizzy Dean’s baseball broadcasts because he said, “Me and Paul,” or, “He slud in at third!” But ol’ Diz is a highly effective sports announcer. Not because he makes, grammatical errors, however, but because he is informal and enthusiastic.
One of the disk jockeys at- WSM, Tennessee, is called Mr. Country Music. His style ot speaking is unusually informal.
“Well, now, how are all my pedal-pushin’ (truck driving) buddies tonight?” he’ll say. “I jist got a letter here from a feller way down in Georgie. Him and his little sugar-burger (what?) are listenin’ to us tonight. And we got a long-handled call from Montana. Way out yonder! Well, I’m sendin’ you my little red garters (regards). Hey, how about hearin’ from some of you fellers down there in Alabama? If I don’t hear pretty soon I’m comin’ down there and slap you across the face with a wet squirrel! I’m comin’ down there anyway pretty soon. I shore like them cat-head bis¬cuits and I want to sop gravy with you.”
Along with Mr. Country Music’s chatter are plenty of big hearty Santa Claus laughs. He has a tremendous following, not because his speaking is ragged, but because he. is a warm, friendly, informal, come-shake-my-hand personality.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, with highly cultured language, got the same effect. He didn’t make straight A’s in college, but he was well-educated, brilliant. And he was a master in the art of understanding. In that subject he would have made A plus. FDR knew the great masses of people like the “common touch.” He didn’t call his radio addresses White House lectures. They were fireside chats and, when he talked, listeners felt as if a friendly uncle were really chatting with them in their own homes.
When President Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he didn’t voice a new idea. Plato expressed the same thought many years ago. Others have echoed it through the years, but Roosevelt made it especially persuasive by clothing it with human qualities such as warmth, optimism, and confidence. “From the very first his self-assurance was convincing, nearly blinding with the great white light of promise it shed over the vast surrounding gloom,” said H. V. Kaltenborn.
Many dyed-in-the-wool Republicans surely didn’t vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt because he was a Democrat or because he was well-educated and used proper grammar. He was unusually persuasive rather because of excellent personal characteristics such as1 warmth, understanding, informality, friendliness, and optimism.
Some years later these personal qualities became evident in a Republican president. The simple statement, “I like Ike,” and the persona] qualities that made it true — those three little -words.—-”were far more persuasive than a book about. Eisenhower’s” education or military career would have been.
Certainly- education, and the ability to think, can contribute definitely to persuasion. But a person may have the’ combined wisdom of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and not be a persuasive speaker unless he also has personal qualities that inspire listeners to say, “I’m with you!”
Lack of warmth and human understanding kept Woodrow Wilson from being persuasive. No one would doubt his brilliancy. His logic was compelling, his arguments flawless, but he lacked that human touch which is so necessary for active per¬suasion.
One can never guess accurately what might have happened in history of course, but Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, after World War I, might have become a reality if his human qualities had been as excellent as his brilliant mind. Persuading depends upon both feeling and thinking. And an effective speaker stimulates both. If it is ever a question of one or the other, a persuasive speaker knows people are far more likely to act because of feeling rather than thought. A combination of the two processes, however, is always highly desirable.
Effective public speaking takes some more application in using feelings and thinking to persuade an audience. But the rewards are worth it. If you want to be a more effective speaker and see the benefits for your career and/or business check out our free e-course on confident speaking by typing you details into the area to the right.