If we want to be the top public speakers we can be, it helps to learn from history and the speakers who came before us. It’s kind of like how if you want to be a best-selling author, you should read the classics.
By finding and studying the most successful and well-known public speakers in history, we can learn lessons that practice and experience alone can’t make up for. But who are the most well-known rhetoricians in our history? We’ll find out in the article we’re going to read today.
Winston Churchill is probably the most well-known public speaker because he led the British through the Second World War and was a crucial figure in that war. Churchill had to be a great talker because he led a country through one of the worst times imaginable. Many of his greatest quotes are still part of popular culture today. He also used the rule of three, which we’ve talked about in other articles.
Socrates is an excellent example of a pioneering public speaker, even though he lived thousands of years before the field had been studied and best practices had been set. He practised and worked hard to become a memorable speaker. He spent his whole life talking to people and spreading his philosophical ideas. He even died for his beliefs when he was sentenced to die for making young Athenians lose their minds.
Abraham Lincoln is another excellent example of a politician whose words have lasted much longer than the man himself. Public speakers from all over the world study the Gettysburg Address in particular. It’s too bad that we don’t have any speech recordings so that we could study how it was given.
John F. Kennedy
Later in his life, John F. Kennedy became a great public speaker, but it took him a lot of hard work and practice to get there. He is also like Winston Churchill because he spoke publicly during the Cold War against the USSR. Kennedy also got the American people excited about going to the moon. The first landing on the moon happened less than six years after Kennedy was killed.
Martin Luther King
If we’re talking about killings, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Martin Luther King. He was a civil rights activist best known for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Like Socrates, King died because of what he believed, but the time he spent among us was enough to make him known as one of the best speakers in history. Analysis of his speeches isn’t the worst thing you could do.
Margaret Thatcher was the PM of the UK in the second half of the 20th century. Whether you liked her or didn’t, she was an excellent public speaker. She worked her way up to the most critical job in the country at a time when men and women were even less equal. Her speeches may not be as well-known as those of others on this list, but she is still a great person to learn from.
Before he became a resistance leader who led India to autonomy from the British through an advertisement of nonviolent resistance, Mahatma Gandhi was a lawyer. He learned how to speak in public on the floors of courts. He is another excellent example of a person who lived and died for what he believed in and was able to use the craftsmanship of oratory to get people to support a good cause.
People often forget about Oscar Wilde when they believe in public speakers, and this is because he is known more as a playwright and wit than as a speaker. But he was also known for giving lectures, and he’s a great reminder that we’re always practising this same art of public speaking, whether we’re talking to a few people at a dinner party or millions of people on live TV. If you want to be an excellent public speaker and be remembered, you could do much worse than learn from and act like Oscar Wilde.
Julius Caesar is like Socrates in that he is an excellent example of an effective public speaker who reached the top of his field before the rules and best – practices of public speaking were written down. He could lead the Roman Empire during a time of trouble, and many of his greatest quotes, like the one that starts, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” are still remembered today. You’ll see that this, too, follows the rule of three.
Now that you know who we think are some of the most prominent public speakers in history, we would like to hear from you. Do you agree with how we ranked the people on our list, or do you assume we left someone off who should be there? As always, let us know via the comments so we can keep the conversation going, and don’t forget to obey us on your favourite social networking sites, so you don’t miss anything. We’ll be back with another article soon.
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