Enthusiasm can be a powerful persuader in public speaking. Here is some information on enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm is not limited to the field of life insurance or to any other service. Its existence depends upon the attitude a person has. A menial service may inspire it. For instance, Raymond Middleton of Detroit became highly enthusiastic about hauling garbage. At the age of fifty-nine he retired from driving a city garbage truck after thirty-one years service. With tears in his eyes he said, “It’s hard to give up something you love. And this job I really love. At first I hated it but the longer I worked at it the more I grew to love it.”
This is a case of enthusiasm being stimulated by a person’s attitude. Nobody can be enthusiastic about work, a speech, or anything else if he is ashamed of his service. But he becomes enthusiastic when he feels his service is really beneficial to people. And when he feels his service is the most important activity in the world he adds more voltage to his enthusiasm.
No one will be enthusiastic unless he wants to be. A company order that “Everyone must be enthusiastic at his work,” will not stimulate enthusiasm, for it depends upon the willingness of an individual.
A full-blooded American Indian, for instance, who was in a business and professional speaking course, could not be enthusiastic when he spoke because he had always been taught to shun enthusiasm. This Indian was not the kind who would shout war whoops as he swung a tomahawk. He talked more like a timid schoolboy on his first date. Finally he told the instructor that all his life he had been taught not to be enthusiastic. And he believed he should not. Naturally with such a mental attitude he could not speak dynamically.Other people, some well-educated, confuse enthusiasm with fanaticism. A fanatical speaker loses control of his emotions. His speaking becomes ridiculous or repulsive rather than persuasive for most listeners. But who would object to the type of enthusiasm that Coleman Cox described: “Inspired by reason, controlled by caution; sound in theory; practical in application; reflects confidence; spreads good cheer; raises morale; inspires association; arouses loyalty, and laughs at adversity.”
This is the type of enthusiasm a speaker needs.
People who are “naturally” enthusiastic are that way because of habits they have developed, perhaps unconsciously. But those habits can be developed consciously until they become natural qualities of a personality.
Have you ever tried to consciously develop enthusiasm? My next post will reveal someways that can be used to do this.
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