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