Speaking From Experience

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What do liquor, the electric chair and being struck by lightning have to do with persuasive speaking in public? It might not be what you think.

Why could Carrie Nation speak so effectively against liquor? Ait Harvard University students sang in a teasing manner, “We’re glad you’re here, Carrie!” They intended to heckle her to such. an extent she could not speak. But she was so enthusiastic about her subject and so eager to share her ideas the students listened attentively regardless of their intentions.

Why could this woman speak so fervently against alcoholic beverages? Because the only man she ever really loved had beĀ­came a hopeless alcoholic. That is why she set herself up as the hatchet-woman against the liquor traffic. She could put heart in her speaking because her heart had been fired with a desire to destroy that force which had robbed her of fondest desire.

Naturally, if a person expects to put life in a talk he will had to have experienced life. A pitiful type of talk to hear, for instance, is one made by a bachelor about how to rear a family. Can one made by a student about “How to be happy after retiring at sixty-five.”

When a speaker, through personal experience, has “earned the right” to make a speech, he can speak with a depth of sincerity and reality which is far more effective than all the clever phrases a brilliant mind can construct.

A student who had been struck by lightning and lived to tell about it spoke on his experience. He had the tattered clothing that he had worn and the old shoes whose soles had been loosened “by the lightning. Do you think his speech was impressive? Why?

Another young man talked about how it feels to sit in an electric chair. He had had this experience when he visited a state prison. Of course his talk was interesting and convincing.

In my next post but one about whether you need to be swallowed by a whale to be interesting while speaking in public. Let me know what you think.

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