Gone are the days where verbal communication/public speaking was the only way we connected and conversed. The invention of the telephone first eroded verbal communication which worsened when the invention of computers followed in the 80's. Now with social media networks that can be easily accessed by various means, you don't need to be verbally saying anything to say what you want. Our world has become great at "speaking" but not in the verbal, face-to-face way we were use to.
Think about it- how rare of an occasion it is to hear someone who speaks well and makes your ears perk up as the listener? These type of interactions seem far and few between now.
Being good at speaking in public doesn't mean you have to be on a stage or in front of a large crowd of people either. Being a good public speaker can mean being good at one-on-one interactions in small, intimate settings as well as large crowds. The best public speakers can adapt to whatever setting they are in and whatever group of people they are talking too and still deliver time after time.
The ability to public speak in an effective and commanding way is becoming such a rare commodity now in society because with more access to technology like email, telephone and social networks, we have outlets to speak for us rather than do it for ourselves. It is a laziness, convenience and comfort factor that technology provides for us so we don't have to go to the work of speaking for ourselves. Truth be told, for most people, speaking is an extremely nerve-racking, uncomfortable skill which many people are not great at.
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So where did all the good speakers go? Was it the the introduction of technology that replaced good speakers? Is it because speaking in front of people actually takes work and is hard for most people to do? Perhaps its because society has become lazy and would rather skip being uncomfortable and would rather 'speak' from behind a phone, screen or network instead?
When we think of how important communication is in life, both professionally and personally, a public speaking course or at least a basic communications course should be something to consider adding to high school curriculum. This would help students far after school in so many areas of their lives. Regardless of what occupation you are in, being an effective communicator with strong verbal skills goes a long way and is an extremely valuable skill to have since it is so rare in society.
On a positive note, what does this mean for the people who are great public speakers? An opportunity to be the best at their craft and share this skill with those around them in a positive way which is what we're doing here at The Passionate Voice. We're helping great people tell their stories -- both online and in person.
Want to learn more as a speaker and/or communicator on how to speak well in person AND on social media? Stay tuned for tips coming your way!