The First Principle of Public Speaking

A person is only as effective as his communication.

Understanding the first principle of public speaking is key to becoming a good public speaker. What is this magic principle? It's fairly simple:

"A person is only as effective as his communication."

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone you know is a genius because you didn't understand a word they said? I know I have. The problem is, your ideas don't actually matter unless you can communicate them. That communication may be in the form of words, actions, or a demonstration, but you must communicate nonetheless. In fact, many of the great discoveries of our time are credited not to their sole inventors, but rather to the person who presented them the best. Take the telephone, for example. Alexander Graham Bell is commonly credited as the inventor of the telephone, but a man by the name of Elisha Gray also designed a very similar device at the same time. Bell won the ensuing court battle, however, and so gets the credit.

How effective are we in getting others to understand our words? Do we ever speak with artistic complexity rather than plain simplicity? The measure of our communication skill is neither the size of our words nor the eloquence of our speech, but rather it is the effect of our language upon our audience.

If we want to be as Alexander Graham Bell rather than Elisha Gray, we must take to heart the first principle of public speaking: "A person is only as effective as his communication."

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