How to write a good public speech

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The techniques of public speaking go back thousands of years to the teachings of Aristotle.  A little knowledge and appreciation of these techniques can go a long way in helping you structure a powerful speech.

Aristotle broke public speaking down to 3 key forces – ethos, pathos and logos.  According to SpeechSchool.TV, part of training your own mind to do successful public speaking can be greatly assisted by understanding and planning for the role of each of these in your presentations.

Ethos is who you are.  Ethos is how your character is revealed through your speech.  It’s important because the audience decides how they feel about you based on your ethos.  One of the main things holding back good ethos is fear, because it’s fear that stops you from being relaxed and being yourself.  Conquer fear by understanding your ethos and character and be comfortable in it.  Use your introduction to establish yourself, get your audience on your side and build credibility from your background for your subject.

Pathos is the audience reaction and feeling to your speech.  Remember, it is made up of the emotions felt, emotions you give rise to as you speak.  Pathos can change a lot depending on the type and mix of audience your speaking to.  Allowing for pathos in writing a speech, means being willing to change your material and stance as you sense the emotions of your audience changing.  For example this can be as simple as building on a powerful story that is clearly moving an audience rather than going to the next point.

Finally logos is the words you use as a speaker.  It’s what you say.  It’s the result of your verbal skill and artistry.  The ability to form interesting phrases from words and ideas can be developed through experience and wide reading.  That’s valuable because the right words are memorable.  Being able to come up with words that delight and express ideas clearly will keep your audience interested and help them remember what you say.  Spend some time developing interesting turns of phrases.  Wide reading on your subject can help.

These 3 key components each need to be considered in a successful presentation – ethos, pathos and logos – as devised by Aristotle.

Start considering these three components when you put together an effective speech: ethos – communicating your character, pathos – connecting emotionally with your audience (remember that’s a two way thing – output and input) and logos – the words that make the show.  It’s about – you (being a confident but likable character), them (caring about your audience and how they feel) plus the words that allow you to make the whole performance memorable!

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