“But there is something that I must say to my people”

Widely considered the greatest speech of all time, Martin Luther King, Jr. urgently and passionately let it be known that equality is not an option.

I am reminded so often of the power each one of us has to speak up and speak well.  Just today in my local, Allentown, PA area newspaper,  The Morning Call, there is an article about the PPL rate hikes.  One woman, pictured in the article had the courage to speak up and explain how the rate hikes are causing her family to suffer financially.   No doubt her passion and courage to speak will have an effect on the issue.  At the least, her bravery may inspire others to speak about something they care about.   What do you care about?  Do you want to do something about it?  You have all the power in the world to start today.      A civic-minded acquaintance   recently asked me to help him shape a message that he plans to deliver to civic groups because he feels strongly that the time is right for his message to be heard. Often, civic groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary and others are seeking speakers to add something of interest to their regular meetings.  Some groups offer online speaking suggestion forms on their Web sites.  Nothing like putting yourself out there in order to learn something new, meet people and challenge yourself.  Requesting to speak at a civic group is one way to share your passion.

When I teach public speaking at Penn State, I ask students, “Can you imagine what will be your rhetorical situation?”   A trick question, really, since most of us have no clue what will cause us to step up to the microphone and make our case.   For sure, most of us will have at least one occasion that requires us to be heard.   So this summer, I ask you to think about how you could share something you know about and care about with others.  It’s a generous thing and it makes the world a better place.   Whether it is racial equality or a more affordable electric bill, speak up and speak well!

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June 2010
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