Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Qualities of a Good Orator

Each day we wake up from bed we sell. That's right we are all born salesmen and women. Whether its our personality or our style statement or even our sense of humour or even our sadist opinions, selling is integral to our lives. And for every salesman there is a buyer. These buyers may be labeled as friends, audiences or any other fancy term to suit the occasion; but in the end its that click, between the seller and the buyer, which makes or breaks the deal.

 Ever wondered why you lose yourself in time when certain people speak, while for others five minutes is just a lot to ask?? It may be the looks or the present-ability of the individual or the subject matter of discussion or simply the way its delivered or even a combination of the same, but what ever the reason is, the fact of the matter is that some people can sell, products, concepts, ideas or even themselves far better than others who may even be more brainier. These people are often called street smart and indeed they are, for convincing or manipulating another person's brain is sheer brilliance. These are the real orators and not people who just stand on podiums and pulpits giving diktats to people.

By definition an orator is a public speaker, esp. one who is eloquent or skilled. Many may construe this to limit its scope to a select few learned people while alienating the vast majority. But if you look at the gaping loophole, one can easily understand that a orator is a good public speaker. This means that each time we make a convincing argument or a presentation before or bosses or standing up for a cause and garnering followers [even if its one person], is evident enough to say that the respective person [good or bad] is a good orator.

We are all born with the same brain but yet somehow we end up using different parts of it in varying capacities which, through trial and error, have become our comfort zones and thus our traits and our talents. But that does not mean that we are all not good orators.

Have you ever sat and thought to yourself why in school were you not able to take part in that debate or why you need to instigate a third party to make your point in office politics or even be able to participate in a reading before a crowd during a funeral ceremony for a loved one??? The answer is easy to say.... We are not good orators, its an elite few who can hold this title.... But is that really true???

We are all born good orators, from the time we start our first siren as a baby till the time we say goodbye as we die in our loved ones arms, we are sellers and buyers. But somewhere in society we have been affected, both directly and indirectly by a host of factors, and this has driven us to what we describe as a complete understanding of ourselves. Sometimes its like the story of the eagle who hatched from a cluth of chicken eggs and all his life lived like a chicken admiring the eagles soaring above not realising he was one until the farmer's boy took him under his care and on proper guidance lived to see the eagle chick soar into the high skies. So what are the factors that affect us at a tender age that end up defining our oration skills???
  1. No proper knowledge on the subject
    Knowledge is power and the right fuel to boost ones need to express his opinions and in turn boost his or her confidence to stand up and speak for others. It the reason that those who choose to orate, get that tingling sensation in the chest and thighs just before they rise to speak.
  2. Ignorance and failure to promote attitude from those whom we look up to
    Ignoring the person who voices his or her opinion especially at a tender age will enable the person to believe that his or her  viewpoint is insignificant and that no value or change will result with him opening his mouth and in this way the person will be branded as a silent observer all his life and will find his comfort zone as being the follower.
  3. Our choice of friends and role models
    The choice of friends is a decision whose onus lies on us and us alone. We look for like minded people but actually are we. NO, we are searching for comfort zones for friends in a friend circle are like the five fingers of the hand, each equipped with its own purpose and talent but controlled by the power of the brain, so also like a pack of wolves, friends in a group are nothing but a step close to being Yes Ministers or slaves to the dominant personality where a conflicting one is viewed as a threat and whose punishment is either penitential silence or simply banishment from the group. Thus many self believers are now becoming the lone rangers, following their own spirit rather than subduing themselves to the will of the majority of the community. Choose friends who will repect if not promote your individuality rather than subdue it.

  4. Friends, family or co-workers who subject such behaviour to ridicule
    Remember the friend circle you choose will influence your current mindset, whether you like it or no. Be it your sudden love for dresses over jeans or junk food over mom's kitchen or even college over a job. Spending time with anyone on a more than normal basis will enable you to venture into their thought process and if they are good sellers, entrap you into their vision of an ideal world for you. Notice a change in your behavior in your personality when you are with your friends vis a vis your usual self and if you notice a difference, introspect and you will notice its because the cause is linked to your friends. Be it a smirk or a blatant laugh or even a painful sadistic remark, in an age where being accepted is the need for the hour and where alertness to body language is at its best, such signs can make all the difference. Remember, there is no such thing as Right and Wrong in human behaviour, its all a difference in opinion.

  5. Self confidence
    Your level of self confidence is in direct proportion to your will to speak up. You need that quality to talk & voice it out. Whether it be a talent or something you really worked hard to develop, your ability to just stand there and speak for or against a motion, is testament enough to your level or belief and thus your confidence in yourself. Remember, no matter what people say, you are your best friend and your worst enemy and so no one can stand in your way unless you allow them to do so. The more confident you are the more approachable you become the more you learn and the more you become seen..... just another dominoes effect to success.

  6. Family not taking the individual's comment with cognizance 
    Family is generally the building blocks to ones personality especially when the person is trying to find himself. But what one fails to realize is that as he is on his Indian Jones phase of life, he or she is also reacting to elements around him and in this way is also learning how to fit the puzzles in the jig saw called life. One fails to realize that the ying yang theory is at work at home as well.... raising your eyebrows??? Have you heard of the hypothesis that he who is boisterous or extroverted at work is a silent lamb at home and vice versa..... There is truth to this hypothesis... meditate and you will know. 
 So on realizing the factors that help separate the sheep from the goats in society, its time to ask a straightforward question.... What does make a good orator?? The factor are many and its a combination of the following, though in varying degrees, that gives each orator his distinct charm:

Elegant Rock Formations by constant pounding by the wind
  • Knowledge on the topic
    Unless you know what you are going to talk about you will not be able to get up there deliver unless you are the kind that resorts to rambling and beating around the bush!!
  • Confidence
    With knowledge comes confidence and the ability to withstand all criticism that may be thrown your way. Remember beautiful Rock formations are only made through years of being subjected to weathering of rock.
  • Presentation of the self
    Grooming plays a big role in selling oneself. You cannot be taken seriously in baggy pants and a sweatshirt or jovially in an Armani suit. Dress for the occasion and more importantly dress to compliment your personality and not compete with it, for your buyers will judge you by just seeing you in the first five seconds of glance.
  • Voice modulation
    Man's attention span is like a gold fish, not more than 3 seconds and so change is necessary to prevent him from being stabbed to death by boredom. Changing topics and by modulating your voice to suit the occasion, you can ensure their attention. Make the topic come alive rather than become a crime scene where the chief suspect is the monotonous tone and his accomplice, boredom.
  • Acceptance of new or conflicting facts
    Open mindedness is the key to success as a student is never smarter than his teacher and considering that we learn throughout our lives, accepting valued suggestions and facts, especially in the presence of others will only better your respect and image in the mindset of the rest. Its all about how you do what you do.
  • Engaging or interactive
    Speaking of how you do what you do, making the session interactive and thus involving the crowd will create a sense of engagement and a 3D stimulation that will keep the crowd focused on you as opposed to what the other person wore to Sunday Mass!! Interactiveness should only be encouraged when you have proper knowledge on the subject for it is a risky business. It has the potential to both draw the potentially deviating crowd and at the same time deviate you from your line of thought and thus undermine your credibility as a leader.
  • Smart with the smart and dumb with the dumb
    Remember to speak to the crowd keeping in mind their level of understanding. Keeping yourself on par with the crowd is a a challenge, I agree, especially if you feel you are a mismatch but it is vital to determining your success for in the end no one wants to underestimate the power of stupid people in a crowd!!!
  • Approachability and charisma
    our personality and charisma will make that final blow to break or seal the deal. Its how you bond as a human being that will make the final connection. Here, honesty and being genuine only, will gain you brownie points. Keeping in touch will foster repeat clientele.
  • Intelligent humour
    People love intelligent humour. Higher or lower notes on the intelligent scale will either confuse or simply tick them off and will lead to distractions. Intelligent humour are mostly safe and free from controversies, vulgarity and character impersonations.
  • Value and Justice to time
    Time is precious and in a world where 24hrs are just not enough, donating time to another individual is like trading gold. There has to be something of equal value coming out of the conversation. Wasting time only gets people frustrated and believe me you do not want bad marketing.
  • Looks
    Whether or not the hypothesis stating that looks no longer imply the success of the individual, is up for discussion but what holds true ground is that it certainly plays a role in getting you the audience. For every product to sell you not only need a salesman but also the marketing, and at times your charming smile can do all the work especially if it is clubbed with your appearance for the concerned occasion. Remember, your looks can only get the horse to the pond, it can't make it drink!!
  • Avoidance of distraction
    The above however needs to be done in moderation. The last thing you want is your boon to become your bane for if any of the above, tips the normal charts you are in for distraction which will end up acting against you. So think twice before you wear a goatee or even a revealing dress or a flashy tie, before you want to make a point that is more serious than your choice of outfit.

 Believe it or no but these are the qualities of a good orator and it is only a combination of the above factors that will prove the hypothesis, that is my personal belief, that the success of an orator is "Not judged by the number of people he garners at the start of his speech but rather the number he retains at the end of his speech". For at the start there are factors to help like marketing be it word of mouth or the written word, but at the end its all up to the charisma and confidence of the respective individual.

We meet a lot of people in our lives but remember only those who sparked a change in our pathways of thought, word and deed. We get only a moment to do that for others and a chance lost is a chance regretted, for in the words of Shakespeare himself who said that "The world is a stage and we are but mere actors"; And its this opportunity that really tests our true salesmanship and our quality to be a good orator.

Do find below some really good orators that have sparked millions worldwide [I must state that this is not to politically incite or demean, as may be perceived by some, in this not so democratic word, but purely focusing on oration qualities, as is the intended aim of the topic]

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN

USA's President Barak Obama saying Yes We Can

An audio speech of Mahatma Gandhi stating that the British Quit India

Adolf Hitler of German, inspiring the youth

Malala speaking at the UN at Age 16

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