August 23, 2019

Public Speaking Sins: Failing to Appeal to Emotion


Cardinal Sins , Public Speaking , Strictly Speaking , The Buckley Experience , Tips

Reid Buckley’s "Strictly Speaking" was published by McGraw-Hill 10 years after Reid founded The Buckley School. Drawing on his decade of work with students, Reid designed it to be used as a reference for any speaking situation, so that a person could read as much or as little as needed. In 2019, we’re publishing excerpts from the first chapter in our online magazine: "10 Cardinal Sins that Amateurs Commit."

"In the aggregate, even Nobel laureates are dumber 'n dirt."

– Reid Buckley on the importance of appealing to both intellect and emotion

Cardinal Sin 8: Do not rely on the slightest gleam of intelligence that you believe you detect in your audience. Aim at the gut! 

This is like relying on the gleam of compassion one detects in the eye of a Swiss banker, which turns out to be his glass eye.

In the aggregate, even Nobel laureates are dumber 'n dirt. Before they quit the auditorium, your audience have forgotten what you said. 

So quit appealing to their intelligence.

Everything you say should be exquisitely wrought, wise, witty and wonderful, but you must aim at the gut, at implanting in the audience a good feeling about you. "Sound fellow! I agree with every last jot and tittle whatever they were."

In this consists the genius of Bill Clinton’s stump speeches: their warm and fuzzy sincerity, totally resisting analysis but making their point with the public just the same. All the same.

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