Oral Communication Skills

Course Manual

Demosthenes, considered the greatest orator of classical antiquity, made his first successful speech when he made a claim against a guardian, who had defrauded him. This caused him to seek a career as an orator. But his first efforts in the public debates were a failure; his delivery was so tortuous and feeble that the audience did not understand him and laughed him out of the assembly. As he was going home disconsolately, the actor Satyrus caught up with him and gave him a lesson in how to deliver a speech. Demosthenes studied and practiced his oratory intensely for many weeks. To keep himself from prematurely going out to start speaking in public, he shaved one side of his head so he would be embarrassed to be seen in public. He cured his stammer by speaking with pebbles in his mouth and his shortness of breath by reciting poetry while running uphill. He eventually acquired the skills to hold Athenian audiences spellbound for years to come.

"The world has changed. So has the way we communicate. Those who fail to adapt will be left behind; but, for those who want to succeed, there is only one secret: you are the message."  Roger Ailes

"Audiences want more than your message. They want you and they want you to be real. They long for communication that is fresh, honest, direct and personal.  You can and should frame your data, ideas, and opinions artfully.  Choose the right words; use your voice, face and body expressively; make it a performance-- but never forget that when an audience experiences your real presence - you fully and openly with them, for them, of them without artifice or affectation - locks release, doors open, trust blossoms and minds and hearts connect." Ralph Cagle

"Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you are there."   Lyric from Dancin’ in the Street

Table of Contents

When Is What We Say Public Speaking? 

When Lawyers Speak Do People Listen?

Lawyers' Work Influences How They Communicate with Audiences

How Audiences Tend to See Lawyers 

Common Complaints about Speakers 

Preparing Your Presentation for Delivery-Four Simple Questions

  1. Who is My Specific Audience? 
  2. What Do I Want This Audience to Do? 
  3. What Resources and Obstacles Will Affect My Presentation? 
  4. What is My Message and My Method?

In Conclusion: A Few Communication Principles 

RealWorld™ Speaker’s Checklists 

Put A Great Start Into Your Presentation 

Some Good Themes for Your Openings 

Embrace Your Anxiety 

Project Presence As a Speaker

Use Your Voice Effectively

Use Positive Body Language 

Supplement with Visual Aids 

Bring Stories into Your Presentations 

Use Audience Satisfying Language 

The Effective Use of Humor 

Close With Purpose

Summing Up: 10 Ways to a Winning Presentation

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