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Learn rhetoric: How to become a top speaker

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Learn rhetoric: How to become a top speaker

You know those people who seem to be born on stage? It doesn't matter what the topic is or how many people they're speaking in front of: The art of rhetoric was just dropped in their lap. But can anyone really learn rhetoric?

For them, a stage appearance or free speaking in front of smaller and larger groups of people is not associated with sleepless nights, sweating or nervous twitches. For this group of people, free speech is an absolute feel-good zone. With this article, we would like to introduce you to the topic of learning rhetoric and have some great tips for you!

Rhetoric course for beginners: exercises for the art of speaking

You can't wait to finally give great speeches and wow your audience. Maybe you've even signed up for a Rhetoric course and are eagerly awaiting the start. But at least you know that no rhetoric master has fallen from the sky and that you have to practice. That's why you want to tackle the matter now and improve!

Very good decision, because a rhetoric course gives you valuable knowledge. You Sync and corrected by dr.jackson forWhat influence words, gestures, looks and the sound of your voice have on conversations. You will learn how you can use your personality to convince your conversation partners or listeners. And you will practice how to present your content perfectly while remaining authentic and credible. A rhetoric course is excellent because you are in a protected space. What happens in the rhetoric course stays in the rhetoric course.

There are a few exercises that you can do at home before you start the rhetoric course. All to yourself, to get a first feel for the tasks and to find out what to expect. Of course, this is not a substitute for a professional course session, but simply shows you how you can prepare a bit in advance. Think of it as a short warm-up. Have fun with the following two exercises!

Rhetoric course - Exercise 1: Appear confidently

Stand in front of a large mirror and look at your facial expression and posture. Now try to reflect impartially on how you appear to yourself. Is your look determined and alert or uncertain and tired?

In the next step, try to convey a message to your reflection as convincingly as possible. For example, say loudly and clearly "I will be a good rhetorician and inspire others with my speeches!". How do you feel while speaking? How do you hold your hands? What about your body tension?

Speech types and pitches

Try it again - this time a little more energetically and with more vigour! Keep trying until you happy are. Repetition is also on the agenda in the rhetoric course. Keep at it until you buy into the fact that you will actually be a good rhetorician. Practice this exercise with different sentences and test different pitches. Speak faster and slower, louder and softer. Find out what makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Clearly, your tone of voice, your speech tempo, the emphasis of individual words and your gestures should be coordinated with the content of your statement. Always put yourself in a realistic situation. If you are delivering bad news, for example, you can speak a little more calmly. If you're delivering happy news, you should speak with more pepper. Regardless of the content of a statement, you should know which speech types and pitches make you feel most comfortable and confident. That is the goal of this exercise.

Rhetoric course - Exercise 2: Start perfectly

Take a few minutes and think about a successful introduction for a speech. You are free to choose the topic. You decide whether it is a motivational speech for employees or an emotional birthday speech. Take a pen and paper and prepare the first sentences. Read on only when you have put something down on paper.

Ready? Very good, then here comes the quick test for you: Start the first words of your speech with "Good afternoon! Nice to see so many of you here!" or with "We are gathered here today to..."? Yes? Then you've fallen into the common-but-totally-boring trap.

An introduction that captivates the listener

The first thing to remember is that you can't thank someone for showing up in large numbers. Unless he has a split personality. And communicating the absolutely obvious never got anyone anywhere, either. Forget all the standard forms and supposed speech norms you've picked up at company parties and annual meetings. Loosen up and come up with an original, unexpected start that no one will expect. Not so easy, is it?

There is a logical explanation for why general-but-totally-boring introductions practically spell the end of any speech: A speech is nothing more than a one-way soliloquy, a monologue. The speaker talks, the rest listen. Of course, this is only exciting for the rest as long as the content of the speech is exciting, rousing or at least informative. As soon as the suspense thread breaks, the attention drops. And a dull introduction does not even create suspense, but is prevented from the outset.

Learning rhetoric - The best tips at a glance

Verbal and non-verbal communication

You've probably heard it before, "You can't, not communicate." That's the first of the five axioms according to communication scientist Paul Watzalawick. What this means is that whether you communicate with speech or just stand there in silence, you are always communicating.

Because both the language and the behavior itself can and will be interpreted by your counterpart (individual or group), interpreted and in doubt also evaluated. And yes, your sovereignty is also a rhetorical tool - and the start of every performance. Which stylistic means help you to learn rhetoric, you will now learn from us.

Authentic appearance - nonverbal rhetoric

Think of it this way: You're walking on stage. It's your moment. You have prepared for it for many weeks, you are pretty sure that everything will go well. The intensive rhetoric training has prepared you for all eventualities and you know that you can draw on and use everything you know about rhetoric today.

You go on stage, still silent, the audience applauds. You stand there and at that moment you notice that you urgently have to drink another sip of water. No problem, the audience still applauds.

But then it goes silent - and you stand there with your glass of water in your hand, drinking, saying nothing, still orienting yourself ... and: communicating! Because your silence says a lot: Your mind is not on the matter. And the audience can sense that - without you having said a single word.

Learning rhetoric: Your way to the stage - or: All beginnings are difficult

But before you go on stage, let's go back to the beginning: What is rhetoric? And how can rhetorical means be understood and used practically? For whom is Rhetoric suitable and for what we need the art of speech? Rhetoric is the ability to speak convincingly in front of an audience and in a one-on-one conversation. So rhetoric is the art of free speech. In order to speak freely, clearly and concisely, there are some rhetorical tools, some of which you probably know.

Imagine you want to learn a new language. To make this a reality, to create a routine, you practice the vocabulary of the new language day after day. The more you practice, the easier it will be to speak the language - even in public.

And it is exactly the same with rhetoric. Without practice, training and routine you will not become a good speaker. Not in front of one person and not in front of hundreds of people. Yes - that's exactly how it is, unfortunately. But don't panic: There are some very valuable tips & tricks you can use to learn AND apply rhetoric in a short time.

Rhetorical devices - an overview

The special thing about rhetorical devices is that you can strengthen or weaken the effect of your language and what you convey by using the respective device.

Imagine having a toolbox full of aids that you can use to reinforce, strengthen, and make your statements more effective. That's exactly what rhetorical devices are: helpers that work wonders in language! We have summarized the five most important rhetorical tools for you here:

Rhetorical devices:

Alliteration: Words strung together with the same initial sounds. "Milk makes tired men sleepy." Effect: Emphatic, memorable.

Metaphor: Visualization of facts, where image and expression are connected by special properties. Like "A flood of people". Effect: Illustrative.

Climax: Increase from the weaker to the stronger. "The Earth, our solar system, and the entire galaxy." Effect: forceful, emphasizing.

Personification: Humanization of a thing. "Time is running." Effect: Illustrative.

Comparison: Two terms or states of affairs that are similar in one or more characteristics are related by "as" or "like": "Strong as a bear." Effect: Vivid, emphasizing.

Body language

As written above: Body language is the be-all and end-all of rhetoric. Sounds strange - doesn't it? After all, it is the verbal communication with which you want to convince. In fact, it is your appearance, your appearance and yes, even your clothes that determine the overall impression. If you are insecure or reserved, your audience will notice it immediately!

How do I overcome my speech anxiety?

Of course, it's easier said than done, but unfortunately it's true: If you want to (or have to) speak, you should not only master at least the basic knowledge of rhetoric. No! He must overcome his fear of speaking. This is possible with this simple tip:

Encourage yourself! You are good and you can do it. Just tell yourself that over and over again before your performance - like a kind of mantra: "I'm good, I can do it!" Because: The more positive you are, the more confidently you will be able to sell your speech, your presentation or your concern to the audience.

Prepare your presentation!

The most important thing for a successful lecture, a rousing presentation or an unforgettable speech is: Learn rhetoric! And: Appear confident. Feel comfortable with what you say, with what you wear and with where you are. And even if something doesn't go the way you want it to: stay positive, confident and believe in yourself. After all, you are the expert on your subject!

Learning rhetoric works for everyone

The targeted use of language is the most beautiful skill that we humans can have. The good thing about it is that each of us is capable of learning rhetoric in order to achieve our goals. To make the power of rhetoric clear to you, we have linked a speech below, in which the speaker simply convinces through his quality.

Best watch the speech once you've read through this article.

YouTube video

Conclusion: Learning rhetoric is possible for everyone

In this article, we have given you some tips that you can use to improve your rhetoric. We are sure that it doesn't matter if you are a beginner or not. With the right methods, you too can learn rhetoric and raise your speaking skills to a new level.

We would like to support you on this path. That's why we'd like to give you our workbook "Keynote Development." Just click on the link in the box and download the e-book for free.

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It's like anything: practice makes perfect. Nowadays it is hardly possible to bypass the basic knowledge of rhetoric. Because in all kinds of situations in life we need to communicate freely, confidently and sovereign - not only professionally, but also privately. Every person should therefore learn rhetoric to a certain extent.

Learning rhetoric plays a major role even in times of digital media. Because one-to-one communication is still unbeatable - and good rhetoric is still the be-all and end-all. In this article, we would like to tell you which tips you can use for this.

If you'd like to learn more about this topic, download our free Keynote development workbook now.

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It's easier said than done, of course, but unfortunately it's true: If you want (or need) to speak, you not only need to master at least the basic knowledge of rhetoric, no, you need to overcome your fear of speaking. This can be done with this simple tip:

Encourage yourself! You are good and you can do it. Just tell yourself that over and over again before your performance - like a kind of mantra.

"I'm good, I can do this!" Because: The more positive you are, the more confidently you will be able to sell your speech, your presentation or your concern to the audience.

And it doesn't matter whether you are speaking in front of one or several people. Just make it clear to yourself again and again: You have a concern and want to inspire, convince or inform your audience.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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