All his oratorical efforts were made for practical effect. He never spoke merely to be heard.
—ABRAHAM LINCOLN, in his eulogy on Henry Clay
Throughout history, the height of human effectiveness has been the ability to persuade others. As such, the aim or goal of public speaking is to cause an action to take place that would not have taken place in the absence of the words of the speaker. For example, when Demosthenes spoke, people said, “What a fine speaker he is.” But when Alcibiades spoke, they said, “Let us march!”
Your job as a speaker is to motivate and impel your listeners to think, feel, and act differently as the result of your words. It is to make them take action of some kind. It is to motivate ...