What is oratory and why most of the greatest speeches ever are oratorical in nature?
Oratory can be summarized as the art of informing and persuading people through the use of public speaking skills. It generally means speaking in front of an audience and using high level language skills to inform, educate and persuade the audience.
Martin Luther King Jr ‘s “I have a dream” speech is a perfect example. That speech marked a historical turning point for blacks in America and around the globe. You will agree with me that although his speech, his words, were powerful, it was his charisma and passion that elevated the speech to what it became.
In this article, I will be doing my best to show you how to give an oratorical speech that resonates with your audience and lives long into the future.
WHAT IS AN ORATORICAL SPEECH?
An oratorical speech is one that aims to inform or persuade an audience, in support of a particular viewpoint. The topic of an oratorical speech can be anything, so long as you are passionate about it. The art of oratory has been around for a long time and has its roots in ancient Greece.
This is one of our posts on the types of speech series, should you be interested in learning about other types of speeches, please click on of the links below when you are done reading this article.
Types of Speech Series
7 ORATORY SECRETS THAT WILL HELP YOU ACE YOUR NEXT ORATORICAL SPEECH
ORATORY TIP 1: PICK THE RIGHT TOPIC
This in no small way determines whether your speech will be a success or not. The topic you choose must be something you are passionate about and has had an impact on your personal life. Picking a topic to which you have no personal connection won’t achieve the desired results. Although you will be able to research on any topic and come up with a good speech, a personal connection is the secret spice that will make all the difference.
In choosing a topic, something that appeals to a broad audience and is relevant in a cultural sense is the way to go. Avoid clichés or topics that have been over flogged. You will also have to decide whether to take an informative or persuasive approach.
ORATORY TIP 2: RESEARCH EXTENSIVELY
Irrespective of how well you know your topic, you will still need to do a lot of research in order to dig up facts and figures that support your argument. Most importantly, your sources must be reputable and of high quality. Don’t use only one source, the more the better. This will make your claims appear more grounded to your audience. Give your audience a mix of numbers and stories, numbers to appeal to their sense of logic and stories to appeal to their emotions.
Also, research on the opposing arguments, so you are better prepared to counter any opposing arguments should they arise.
ORATORY TIP 3: HOOK YOUR AUDIENCE
Your introduction needs to speak volumes. A word, phrase or story that embodies your message and will grab the attention of your audience, is your best bet. Tell your audience why your topic is important and what you hope to achieve with your speech, to inform or persuade. Give the audience an overview of your speech and what they stand to gain by listening to you. A real-life case study will be great, it will help your audience see the forces at play and also help them understand your perspective.
During the preparation phase, tackling the introduction after writing the body of your speech is advised. After writing the body of your speech, you will be better prepared to make an introduction that sets the right tone.
ORATORY TIP 4: BACK UP YOUR MESSAGE
This is where your research will come in handy. Numbers and facts give your audience something tangible to hold on to. Stating facts and figures that support your argument will indeed give you the credibility you need.
Having a core message is good, but backing up your core message with supporting arguments is much better. In delivering your oratorical speech, you should be armed with at least 3 supporting arguments that inject more credibility into your core message. Use examples and real-life scenarios to buttress your point. If you can relate your message to the immediate environment (location) and situation of your audience, Bravo!
ORATORY TIP 5: DISCUSS THE OPPOSING ARGUMENT
If your topic focuses on a popular subject, chances are that there are going to be individuals who see things very differently from the way you see them. As the speaker, you should be fully aware of opposing arguments to your claims. You should, in fact, bring them up during your speech and then proceed to give sound counter-arguments to refute the claims of the opposing arguments. Your counter-arguments should rely on facts and irrefutable evidence. This way, your audience has no choice but to agree with you. The ability to present both sides of the argument will work in your favour. Your audience will indeed know that you have indeed done your homework.
ORATORY TIP 6: THE DELIVERY
The world’s greatest orators have a few things in common, some of which are confidence and charisma. From Abraham Lincoln down to the ancient Greek scholars, they all exuded confidence. However, the good news is that everyone can learn the skills required to become a great orator. You just have to practice and over time, you will become better. How an oratorical speech is delivered in no small way contributes to how well it is received by the audience. Confidence is everything. Here are some tips to help you deliver a speech you will be proud of.
- Rehearse your speech out loud, first in public and later in front of a test audience.
- Make eye contact with members of the audience.
- Memorize your key points.
- Use your voice to great effect. Don’t use a monotonous voice throughout.
- Connect with your audience, by way of personal stories and body language.
ORATORY TIP 7: CONCLUDE ON A HIGH
End with a banger, so as to leave a lasting impression on your audience. Remind them of what your speech was all about, your key points and tell them what they should take away. Give them an action to follow through on. This way, your oratorical speech will leave a lasting impact on your audience.
For example, if your speech is on racial discrimination, at the end of your speech, urge your audience to be better, to do better, warn them of the consequences of a lackadaisical attitude towards racial matters. Encourage them to be a part of the solution and not just passive observers.
Here are some topic ideas for when you are called upon to give an oratorical speech.
- Global warming is not a theory, it is real.
- Everyone should be invited.
- It’s about time men and women are compensated equally.
- The dangers of artificial intelligence.
- Social media is only a tool, not a problem.
- There is no democracy without voter participation.
- Accountability is everything.
- What type of what are we going to leave for future generations?
- Academics aren’t everything, but education is.
- Never look away, Act!
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REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING