I attend a lot of presentations and try to pay attention to what the speakers are saying, what they are trying to say, and the manner in which they complete their tasks. And typically, I am disappointed. Those same three elements guide me before I speak, measure me while I speak, and evaluate me after I speak; typically, I believe I can do better than I did. Perhaps I keep the bar high because of the great potential of voice.
We possess great potential to inspire, inform, elucidate, encourage, engage and arouse audiences when we combine the force of our thoughts with the power of expression. Voice activated with clarity of purpose commands respect, just like any other agent of change or "tool." But too many speakers and listeners give low regard to the words, message and delivery. We don't need speakers trained in affectations; we need messengers who combine their knowledge, wisdom and wit to educate and provoke.
One of my heroes, Walt Whitman, aspired to be an orator. Perhaps that is why his words in tribute to the orator ring with such power and respect.
O the orator's joys!
To inflate the chest-to roll the thunder of the voice out from the ribs and throat,
To make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself,
To lead America-to quell America with a great tongue.
We get confused, believing that spokespersons, politicians, media types and entertainment stars are great speakers. They tend to be readers of what others have written. We must think our own thoughts and express them in times bold and sublime recognizing the potential of the spoken word.