How do you talk about Marco Tullio Cicerone1 on a site dedicated to innovation management? In my opinion, there is nothing more modern, in an era in which communication plays a central role in our society, than Cicero’s writings
“What is more pleasant to learn and listen to than an elegant speech, based on wise concepts and appropriate expressions?” Cicero writes.
There is nothing more noble than having the ability to capture people’s attention with words, direct their opinions, divert them from what we believe is wrong and lead them towards what we appreciate.
“A good speaker must possess extensive knowledge in various fields, without which there is an empty and ridiculous production of words” wrote Cicero. Nothing more true and current.
Careful selection of terms, a precise organization of the parts of the speech, experience of human moods, agreeableness, good cultural training, readiness and ability to synthesize in replicating or provoking accompanied by grace and elegance. According to Cicero, together with gestural ability, facial expression and modulation of the voice, these are the requirements of a perfect speaker.
We must urge all those to whom we wish success and prestige to understand the greatness and complexity of the art of speaking and not to simply trust in the precepts and techniques, or in the masters of communication, but to follow a different path.
No one can become an appreciated speaker if he does not have adequate knowledge and skills in the most important disciplines: the speech must in fact blossom and arise from a mastery of the topics. If the theme has not been learned and assimilated well by the speaker, it will sound like a sterile and childish exposition.
Those who aim to express themselves in an excellent way must not only possess that ability that is their own, that is, speak fluently and easily, but also possess that similar and in a certain sense contiguous which is the art of reasoning.
The technique of discussion and the ability to debate belong specifically to the art of reasoning, while the ability to give an eloquent speech is part of the art of communicating.
An orderly, elegant and embellished speech with some stylistic artifice is not enough if the subject in question, of any kind or scope, has not been learned with precision and depth.
“To talk about a topic you need to know it”. There can be no ability to communicate if there is not a solid assimilation of what must be communicated.
Just as the speaker can express himself better on those topics that belong to other disciplines if he has studied them, so the experts of other disciplines can better express their arguments if they have learned some element of oratory.
“In a speech, as in life, nothing is more difficult than understanding what is appropriate.” This concept, which the Greeks call prepon and which in Latin is called decorum, deserves special attention: neglecting it, mistakes are made not only in life, but very often also in literature and in the art of communication.
In fact, the same kind of discourse and the same kind of concepts cannot be used for every circumstance, level, authority, age, time, place or audience. For each phase of the discussion, as in any situation of existence, one must know how to evaluate what is the most appropriate thing.
Traditionally, the art of oratory consists of five parts:
The speaker must therefore be able to identify the content relevant to his topic, and must therefore be able to organize them in the speech, not only based on a logical order but also on criteria of importance and opportunity. It will then be a question of expressing in appropriate terms what has been identified and ordered, of fixing everything in the mind and finally of exposing it in an adequate and effective way.
These are the five parts that we will cover in subsequent articles if you want to follow me