English Conversation: Aristotle’s Advice To Become a Better Public Speaker

We all strive to become a better public speaker. We want to deliver presentations and speeches that can make the audience go wow and create a lasting impact on them. In order to become a confident speaker, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you improve your body language as well as to overcome your stage fright. However, the best advice you can get to improve yourself as a public speaker dates back 2,400 years to the era of Aristotle – Greek statesman and the master of rhetoric.

Here is a fantastic resource that will help you learn more about Aristotle and his three modes of persuasion to convince audiencesethos, pathos, and logos.

But wait!

There is more.

Aristotle also dispensed some valuable advice that more or less set the framework for a successful business presentation.

Let’s understand it in the form of a conversation:

Shantanu: Hi Pranav! What’s up?

Pranav: Hey Shantanu, I am all good. What’s up with you?

Shantanu: I am also fine. Just a bit nervous about the upcoming business presentation I have. You are a student of Pep Talk India, right?

Pranav: Yes, I was. Just completed my Pep Talk Skills course with them. It was really incredible and has helped me prepare for different speaking situations.

Shantanu: That’s precisely the reason I wanted to meet you. I wanted to enroll there myself but I live quite far off, unfortunately.

Pranav: Tell me what you need. I am certain I can help you out.

Shantanu: I have read many articles, blog posts and all on public speaking but I want some simple and concrete advice that I can recall at the spur of the moment in case I get stuck.

Pranav: Why don’t you refer to the Aristotelian ‘triptych’?

Shantanu: Wow, what is that?

Pranav: I will explain to you in detail. These are three powerful pieces of advice, stripped of all jargon, that provide you a handy solution for any short or long speech.

Shantanu: I am intrigued. Go on.

Pranav: Okay. The first advice is ‘Tell them what you will tell them’.

Shantanu: What does that mean?

Pranav: This is the start of your speech. You should tell the audience why you are speaking to them. Give a brief outline of your speech and why you are talking about it. In addition, you also need to focus on what the audience needs to hear. This is essential to provide them a sense of direction on what the speech is about and what takeaways they should have after the presentation is over.

Shantanu: That’s really helpful. Was this in one of the Pep Talk India sessions?

Pranav: Yes, in the Pep Talk Skills course. There was a much lengthy explanation and also a practical training session.

Shantanu: Awesome.

Pranav: So anyway, here is the second advice – ‘Tell them’.

Shantanu: Huh? Just that?

Pranav: Yes. This concerns the actual delivery of your content. The statements you made in your first part need to be backed by solid arguments and evidence. For instance, if you have made an impassioned plea to change sexist attitudes towards women because that is a precursor for violence against them, you need to provide some data and do a correlation between the two arguments to make a strong statement.

Shantanu: That’s pretty neat.

Pranav: And here’s the third point – ‘Tell them what you just told them’.

Shantanu: Whoa, that’s a lot of tell thems!

Pranav: Yes, and it is pretty easy to relate to. You need to recap your main points and stress upon the audience how important it is to believe in your idea. If it is a business presentation and you are selling a product, you have to convince the audience of the benefits they will get on purchasing the same.

Shantanu: Sounds great.

Pranav: The best thing is that not only does this work extremely well for public speeches and presentations, but also for just about any message that you want to convey – be it oral or written. It gives a structured shape to your content and communicates your message in a clear and concise manner.

Shantanu: This is really helpful! I will definitely incorporate this approach in my upcoming speech. I hope everything goes well!

Pranav: All the best! Let me know if it helped.

Vocab Checklist

Dispensed = Distribute or provide (a service or information) to a number of people.
Precisely = In exact terms; without vagueness.
Spur of the moment = On impulse; without planning in advance. 
Impassioned = Filled with or showing great emotion.
Precursor = A person or thing that comes before another of the same kind; a forerunner.


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