John Rodden: “The Three Biggest Mistakes in Public Speaking,” Lecture I

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“Taking ‘Improper Note’ of Your Audience” is the first of a three-part lecture series, “The Three Biggest Mistakes in Public Speaking.”

This lecture series, “The Three Biggest Mistakes in Public Speaking,” focuses on effective communication with a live audience. The first lecture, “Taking ‘Improper Note’ of Your Audience,” addresses the mistake of relying excessively either on notes or memorization. These are the two polar opposites that lead to great errors. If you rely excessively on notes, then you read your speech rather than “read” your audience. If you rely on memorization, you will be paralyzed if you have the memory lapse, which may happen even to experienced speakers. Both scripted speech and the memorized speech are problematic because the former ignores the presence of listeners and the latter comes across to listeners as “cane” or artificial.

In the case of the first great mistake, you should minimize your use of notes and use memory only for specifics of your speech or for exact quotation or citation that you want to be sure or accurate.

The Lecture was addressed by Professor John Rodden on 28 March 2012. Professor Rodden is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at Tunghai University, Taiwan. He has authored or edited a number of books on Orwell, including The Cambridge Introduction to George Orwell (2012).

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