The first rule of rhetoric: Let us start with the basics of speaking.The fundamental role that is mostly neglected
The first rule of rhetoric
Does everyone have to say something about everything? In my opinion, the most important rule of rhetoric and good communication style is that those who have nothing to say should shut up.
Those who have nothing to say should shut up.
It is worthwhile to consider the most important rule of rhetoric. And it isn’t a new one.
The first rule of good style – almost sufficient in itself – is that you have something to say.
I had an otherwise very esteemed colleague who used to express himself regularly every 15 minutes. And he did this largely independently of the topic and the relevance of the personal contribution to it. He had read in a career guide that behavior would be good to progress with his career.
With cause and effect, it is sometimes such a thing. He has succeeded well with his career, and therefore he will probably consider this recommendation right. I think, however, that he was able to make a career with his other knowledge and skills. His verbal contributions in meetings, however, were no pleasure for everyone else involved. It was a direct violation of the 1st rule of rhetoric: Who has nothing to say, better shut up! Or in the words of Abraham Lincoln: “It is better to remain silent and be suspected of being an idiot than to speak and thereby remove all doubts.
With some distance to this article, I tend to relativize my thoughts. I still stand by the basic statement, but the words can also be misunderstood. After all, I am a great friend of the idea that speakers express their thoughts while forming an opinion and sharing it with others. This can be very enriching for everyone involved. It is not about one’s ego, but about contributing something.
So every speaker is invited to think about his or her intention beforehand.
Those who do not speak are not heard, and even those who speak up are not always successful. There are a few more steps that need to be mastered.
Do you want to convince with your message and also as a personality? Then I will help you to prepare your speeches and presentations. You determine the scope. At least, I recommend a test run with professional feedback for you and your message. Then you will know how you and your content are perceived, what you should do and what you should leave out, where there is potential. Why do you want to get such helpful feedback so late after your real performance? Then it is too late for adjustments. Benefit from the advantage. My definition of luck: Preparation meets opportunity.
You can best estimate for yourself where the effort is worthwhile concerning the expected benefit. Here you will find the fees for my support (communication, psychology, language, structure, voice, body language, storytelling, rhetorical means, media such as PowerPoint and Co., etc.)
By the way, many people suffer from such intense stage fright in front of an audience and therefore their performance lags behind their possibilities. Too bad, because with my help performance in a good condition is possible. Just in case...
How convincing are you and your messages in speeches and presentations? How good are you in the 111+ most important presentation skills? I have been analyzing speeches since 1998. After evaluating 14,375 speeches and presentations, I can tell you very precisely what has which effect on which audience. Let me give you the feedback that will help you get ahead. You will receive essential feedback and recommendations, as well as the impulses you need to convince your audience in concrete situations.
Are you interested? Then you will find here the information on feedback with recommendations for improvements of speeches and presentations.
Please post any questions that may interest other readers in the comments. Are you looking for professional support?
Transparency is important. Therefore, you will find answers to frequently asked questions already here, for example about me (profile), the services, the fees, and getting to know me. If this suits you, I look forward to working with you.
In the address bar of your browser, the URL should begin with "https://www.karstennoack.com/...". This indicates a secure connection (SSL). Whether you enter your real name is up to you.
The five-finger speech structure step by step. Systematically build up statements, whether for speeches, presentations, or discussions.
There are good speechwriters. But what value has the best manuscript, when the performance is uncharitable? Unfortunately, in the end, the cupcakes are the highlight! An important speech deserves preparation, rehearsals, …
Create an excellent speech or presentation. It will bring you forward as a presenter. Every speaker should make a brilliant speech at least once in his life. The effect goes far beyond the event because the experience becomes a mental reference. Such an experience will change you as a speaker. Create your rhetorical masterpiece. Here is how to do it.
Persuading without arguments, assertiveness, winning without consideration, knockout by nasty tricks, black magic, manipulating. It is a coveted feeling to be right.
Use grounding for presence and a feeling confident in speeches and presentations. More than just a remedy for stage fright.
There are many strategies to consider in opening your pitch. Think about it twice, because those first minutes can make or break you.
Some people have an opinion that deserves attention. Often, however, this opinion is not heard. Then it is time to decide whether to keep it that way or to share the point of view more clearly with others. Not everyone dares this step. What about you?
This article deals with what it is worth paying attention to as a speaker concerning facial expressions.
Do you want the attention of your audience? Humorously move your audience before the seat hurts. Humor relaxes. It resolves tense, stressful situations. Humor has some positive effects. Appropriate humor can be used effectively in many situations. Find out what is worth paying attention to.
Where to put your hands in conversations and during presentations? Just put your hands in your trouser pockets and the problem is solved. Many inexperienced speakers think this is quite a good idea. I (and most of the audience) don’t think it’s so good. Why? This question will be answered.
Make an impact! Speech is power. And with that great power comes great responsibility. I train and prepare you for your speeches and presentations.
Tongue breakers are used to train dedicated speakers for speaking, articulation, and concentration.
Published: May 2, 2015
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 22nd, 2022
German version: https://www.karstennoack.de/erste-regel-der-rhetorik/