And Rome delivered! Rome is romantic and beautiful and, after a few days of taking in the gorgeous scenery, eating the delectable food (including a lot of gelato), and visiting historic sites, I started to think that students of public speaking (and life in general) could learn a thing or two just by imitating the Italians we met in our travels.
Why am I surprised? Long before Rome was an empire, the government relied on rhetoric as a potent tool for change. Schools knew then what great schools know now: no speech class, no graduation! Both well heeled young men, and even some women back in Roman times learned to speak persuasively in order to enhance their chances of success.
For certain I could hear and see the passions of the current residents of Rome through their powerful speech and movement (especially of their arms and hands).
Here are my public speaking (and life in general) “Vacanze Romane” take-aways:
We were not even five minutes away from the Leonardo DaVinci Airport when the driver, who took us to the charming Gambrinus Hotel in the Villa Borghese area, started waving his hands (yes, both of them) and shouting “Mama Mia Sunday Driver!” as he swerved around a bus (It was Tuesday). Obvious dangers aside, I was impressed by his passion. Out of the window we saw (blurs of) couples of all ages kissing passionately!
Roman Rule No. 1:
I also noticed how definitively Italians spoke. There was no hesitation at all. Whether they were discussing plans for the evening or politics, they knew where they stood and they stood firmly. When we were trying to decide what to order in a restaurant (that we liked so much we returned to three times) the owner said, “You’ll have the penne pasta and peppers!” That was easy.
Roman Rule No. 2:
OK, I know I already mentioned the passionate kissers, but it does bear repeating: show your passion. Find something you love and pour yourself into it.
Roman Rule No. 3:
And here’s something that’s just nice. After most dinners in Rome, the waiter presented me with a fresh rose. I’m not sure how to describe why this contributes to a great life, or effective public speaking, but that darn rose worked every time. The dinner, the weather, the conversation, the moonlit walk back to the hotel, all seemed a little better because of that rose.
Roman Rule No. 4:
END WITH A FLOURISH!