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Category Archives: The Power of Organization

Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:
Answer Counter Arguments

This is the fourth in a series of five posts about classical techniques of rhetoric used by famed orators such as Socrates, Plato and Cicero. If you missed any in the series, you can find links near the end of this post.

RefutatioO.K. You’ve introduced yourself. You’ve laid out what you’re going to say. You’ve even discussed evidence that backs you up. You’re ready close, right?

Wrong.

Now you must go through what the classical Greek and Roman orators called the Refutatio. This is the part of your presentation where you address counter arguments, doubts and concerns.
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Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:
The Body of the Speech

This is the third in a series of five posts about classical techniques of rhetoric used by famed orators such as Socrates, Plato and Cicero. If you missed any in the series, you can find links near the end of this post.

PartitioSo far, I’ve discussed the opening or exordium and the narratio or brief outline of the speech. With these two parts, you’ve warmed up the audience to you and your topic. Now its time to get down to business. The next part of a presentation is the Partitio. Here is where you set out the main arguments that you want to make.

Partitio
If this is a speech to convince the audience of your views, you might say something like “What we need to do to address this problem is …”.

If this is a sales speech, you might say “The reason my products or services are particularly suited to solve your problem is …”.
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Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:
Tell Them What You’re Gonna Say

This is the second in a series of five posts about classical techniques of rhetoric used by famed orators such as Socrates, Plato and Cicero. If you missed any in the series, you can find links near the end of this post.

narratioIn my last post, I discussed how to open a presentation … what the classical orators called the exordium. This is where you gain your audience’s sympathy and convince them that you know what you’re talking about.

Narratio

The next step, or narratio, is where you tell the audience what you are going to tell them in your presentation. In the narratio, you give the audience a brief outline of what you’re going to be telling them in the rest of the speech.
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Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:
The Opening

exordiumPublic oratory — what is now referred to as public speaking — was a valued skill to those to lived in classical Greece and Rome. The classical techniques of rhetoric used by famed orators such as Socrates, Plato and Cicero still apply today. Over the next few posts, I’ll cover some of these techniques and how you can use them to improve your public speaking skills.

Exordium

The exordium, or the opening of a presentation, has two goals:

  1. To gain the sympathy of the listeners — get your audience to like you before you try to persuade them to your way of thinking; and
  2. To clearly establish your own credibility — show your audience that you are the right person to be speaking about your topic.

The Greeks and Romans felt that what you say first to a “captive” audience is much less important that what you leave them with at the end of the speech. Therefore the beginning is the best time to get the “niceties” out of the way.
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