Speaking Effectively Preface


Speaking Effectively presents techniques on how to speak successfully. It takes a "how-to" approach to effective speaking in the Air Force and presents proven techniques as concisely and completely as possible. Experienced speakers will find little here that is new. Yet each speaker, no matter how skilled, needs to keep these basic techniques in mind.

The content is organized chronologically according to the steps a speaker would normally follow: preparing, organizing, choosing appropriate support material, deciding how to begin and end, and finally presenting the actual talk. Although these basic steps apply to any kind of speaking, some important variations exist to accommodate different types of Air Force speaking. Therefore, the book consistently makes distinctions among the three types of Air Force speaking: briefing, teaching lecture, and formal speech.

The book should not become a straightjacket to thinking. Nearly every principle, technique, and suggestion has exceptions. In fact, the only principle that never changes is that an effective speaker is always willing to adjust to the audience. For this reason, the other principles can be modified if the needs of the audience so dictate.

Speaking Effectively is written for the officers, enlisted personnel, and civilians who must speak in the course of performing their day-to-day Air Force business. However, the principles and techniques do not apply only to Air Force speaking. They work in all situations, and they are as old as those in Aristotle's Rhetoric or Cicero's De Oratore.

I am indebted to former teachers, students, and audiences for the content of this book. I apologize if I have used their ideas or those of other textbooks without acknowledging the source. Quite frankly, I have assimilated these ideas into my own thinking and practice, and no longer know where I learned them.

Finally, I say a special thanks to my wife, Ann, who endured my writing of this book. Even more, she has been very patient with a demanding traveling and speaking schedule that required not only time away but also time at home preparing speeches—time that I could have devoted to her.