Public speaking: 7 ways to master speechcraft

If the only advice you've heard on public speaking is to imagine the audience in their underwear, this article's for you.

Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
  • Whether it's at school, a funeral, a wedding, or work, most of us have to make a speech at some point in our lives.
  • However, public speaking can be anxiety inducing, and giving a bad speech can make it difficult for your audience to understand your message.
  • By using these 7 speechcraft tactics, you can improve your public speaking skills, feel more confident, and become a more competent orator.
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Personal Growth

Learning another language should be compulsory in every school

Being bilingual has cultural, social, and cognitive benefits — so why are schools dropping language courses?

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In the 1960s, in our public schools in California along the border with Mexico, Spanish language-learning was a requirement, beginning in sixth grade. I couldn't wait to get to sixth grade to start learning Spanish.

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Mind & Brain

Free speech: The history every American should know

What can and can't you say? A brief glimpse of precedent-setting free speech cases in the United States.

  • There's a reason you're free to wear clothing with protest statements on them today. In 1968, 19-year-old Paul Robert Cohen was arrested for disturbing the peace by wearing a jacked that read "F*ck the Draft" in a California courthouse. His case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that being offended by the jacket did not merit censorship.
  • Jonathan Zimmerman argues that the history of debate in the U.S. – of who gets to say what, and how that has evolved – should be taught to every American.
  • Zimmerman also says it's ahistorical for free speech to be cast as a conservative issue. For much of U.S. history, champions of free speech were those who fought for social justice to help the powerless keep the only power they had: their voices.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies

Why pitting prejudices against each other keeps society free

Should all speech be free? How much intolerance should society tolerate?

  • For society to stay open and free, you don't need to eliminate prejudice. You need the opposite: All kinds of prejudice pitted against each other.
  • Intellectual diversity helps society as a whole learn the truth. And as long as society has rules that force ideas to be openly tested, the intolerant will not gain the upper hand.
  • "In America it's legal to be intolerant. It may not be right. It may not get you accepted or respected. But absolutely it's legal and it should be legal," says Jonathan Rauch.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • As a stand-up comedian, Pete Holmes knows how words can manipulate audiences — for good and bad.
  • Words aren't just words. They stich together our social fabric, helping establish and maintain relationships.
  • Holmes has a clever linguistic exercise meant to bring you closer to the people around you.




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