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The Heart of an Orator

"While it may appear that great speakers are born, not made, there are tricks of the oratory trade that can help almost anyone grab, hold and even enthrall any audience.

And then there is another class of speakers -- orators.

Cicero says that the best orators are those that teach and delight as well as move their listeners. Their choice of words simultaneously builds an argument while composing music. But even the most harmonious of sentences can have a flat delivery.

Scott Kennedy, CEO of Superior Credit Union in Thunder Bay, Ont., is one of four widely acclaimed orators in the credit union system who agreed to share their thoughts about public speaking...“I have to find a hook,” Kennedy says, and people who have heard him speak remember their attention being grabbed in very unusual ways. When asked to give the blessing at a dinner, he sang it; and those who heard it understood why the prayer is sometimes called grace. At a recent credit union convention, Kennedy asked the crowd of 700 to stand and then asked directors over the age of 50 to sit. Next, whites, and then males, were asked to sit, and so it went until there were three visible-minority women standing. In an introductory hook, Kennedy had not only stirred his audience but had made a valid point visually compelling. It was a speech most will remember."

- by Laureen Griffin

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