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Winston Churchill - Essay Example

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This essay describes Winston Churchill's difficult path to a great speaker. Churchill believed that there is no more valuable human talent than the talent of rhetoric and noted that public speaking skills are not the gift of nature but they can be developed…
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Winston Churchill
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“Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln”, James Humes said. Winston Churchill is considered to be one of the greatest public speakers of the epoch. Churchill believed that there is no more valuable human talent than the talent of rhetoric and noted that public speaking skills are not the gift of the nature but they can be developed (Churchill 1987).
Winston Churchill made a long and difficult path until he became a great speaker. “He did not have a melodious, engaging, supple voice, with great dexterity in emphasis, rate and volume. Instead, his vocal delivery was actually poor, deprived of the conversational quality of a Franklin Roosevelt, or a rapier like display of meaningful variety and pregnant pauses, like Tony Blair or William Hague”, John Shosky explained (2010). However, he still remains one of the most memorable orators of the time: “The content of his speeches held a nation together during extreme peril and mobilised it for years of sacrifice and danger... His words helped define his time. The stirring language continues to inspire later generations. When anyone talks about the profound power of a speech, Churchill is probably mentioned more than any other speaker... And so people study his speeches for insight into greatness” (Shosky 2010).
Churchill managed to turn his speaking deficiencies into means of successful rhetoric speech. In his essay “Scaffolding of Rhetoric” Churchill wrote: “Sometimes a slight and not unpleasing stammer or impediment has been of some assistance in securing the attention of the audience” (1879). Over the years of training, Churchill learned to use his voice with the highest level of mastery. He skilfully utilized the means of language such as detailed descriptions, stately sentences, metaphors, analogies, humor, resounding perorations, etc. as well as means of voice performed by influential intonation, which became a part of so-called Churchill's “personal style”: “There was imagery, colour and history. Churchill crafted an interwoven set of traits that made a unique rhetorical persona... His speeches have a
“Churchill quality”... a “Churchill approach” to public speaking” (Shosky 2010). Winston Churchill was also an acknowledged writer and received Nobel Prize an literature, making the language the main actor of his speeches.
Among the other elements of successful public speaking Churchill pointed out thorough preparation, emphatic beginning and focusing on ideas. All his speeches, Churchill prepared personally and beforehand. For many times Winston Churchill rehearsed, rewrote and edited his speeches. He could work out separate phrases for several days, weeks and even months, writing down the most important of them into a special notebook. Churchill admitted that he could not write fast enough and all his speeches were a result of hard work. He said that precise improvisation existed only in the imagination of audience.
While working on “Scaffolding of Rhetoric” Churchill concluded that the performance of ideas was much more important than the performance of thoughts (1987). He believed that before presenting ideas to the public, speaker should feel them first himself: “the orator is the embodiment of the passions of the multitude. Before he can inspire them with any emotion he must be swayed by it himself. When he would rouse their indignation his heart is filled with anger. Before he can move their tears his own must flow. To convince them he must himself believe” (Churchill 1987).
As for the beginning of the speech, Churchill advised not to postpone the discussion of the main theme but to start it as soon as possible, especially if it was a serious question.
Winston Churchill is as great example of successful speaker as well as hard-working man striving to achieve his goal. Churchill's ideas are still cited and his way of speaking is still analyzed and followed. Winning a struggle with his own speaking drawbacks, Winston Churchill is remembered as one of the most outstanding orators in history.
Churchill, S. W. (1987, November). The Scaffolding of Rhetoric. Retrieved from
Shosky, J. (2010, June 18). How to Speak Like Churchill. Retrieved from Read More
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