On Monday let us all pause and reflect on the power that Martin Luther King, Jr. had to create change in our society. We should also consider that much of his advocacy came through speech. On August 28, 1963 King delivered a speech that stirred the nation when he called for racial equality. In front of the Lincoln memorial and before a crowd of 200,000 King addressed his followers with soaring oratory. The speech is widely considered to be the greatest speech in American history.
We may never get a Martin Luther King, Jr. moment, but we can create better lives for ourselves and others through public speaking. What is your dream? A better program for your daughter at school, a promotion at work, or maybe you have political aspirations. The only way to become a good public speaker is to speak. So, take a communication course and build upon the skills that you already have to create confidence and refine your message. Offer to speak to a college classroom, to church members, or a civic group. By refining your communication skills you are making your dream come true, whatever that dream is.
And on Monday: Remember the great words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the change that came through speech.
Nichola D. Gutgold is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley and author of several books. Her latest, Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton ‘won’ in 2009 contends that Clinton was able use a variety of rhetorical options to become the first woman front-runner candidate for president in U.S. history.