Listen and learn

umbrellas free to useMy public speaking career began in high school. As the final for a drama class I drew a slip of paper out of a hat and spent five minutes talking about. . . umbrellas. After extolling their usefulness, detailing the stylistic options, and exhorting everyone to carry one at all times, I decided public speaking wasn’t so hard.

Now that I’m well out of high school, I realize that telling a compelling story in public is, indeed, hard. During this month we explored ideas, resources, and tools to help leaders articulate a vision for the future. This important leadership role is not easy. Like anything else, it takes practice.

One useful development strategy is to read effective speeches and listen to leaders who are effective at telling their vision story. There are many resources where you can listen and learn from other leaders’ speaking techniques – both those who are gifted and those who work hard at what they have to say. Here are a couple of my favorites:

  • The Eloquent Woman – blog provides ideas and inspiration for public speaking, with video clips and analysis that could be useful for all leaders.
  • TED Talks – another great resource for compelling vision stories. Searchable by topic, it includes hundreds of inspirational talks by famous and every-day people who have something important to say.
  • American Rhetoric – a sample collection of the “Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century”

Which leadership speeches have been inspirational to you?  What did the leaders do to present a compelling vision?

Dee Anne Bonebright



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