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Hone up your oratorical skill!

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hone up your oratorical skills

    I do not know how many of you have had the privilege of addressing a gathering. By a gathering, I do not refer to the massive crowds that politicians address but any gathering irrespective of the size. After all a gathering is a gathering and if you are able to have the attention of a small crowd of say twenty riveted on you, no gathering is going to be too large for you. I have had the privilege of standing behind a mike though I can’t say I had the crowds eating out of my hand all the time. On more than one occasion, I have emerged out of these meetings with my foot in the mouth.

    As a small time speaker of sorts, one thing I have learnt is the effective use of statistics. Even the most restive crowds can be quietened by throwing statistics at them. It’s like sprinkling a drop of water on boiling milk that threatens to flow out of the pot. Statistics has a two-fold effect on the audience. First, it gives an impression that you are awfully well informed and such a display of knowledge always keeps the audience spell bound. Secondly, a profuse use of statistics produces a tremendous complex in the listener and a consequent feeling of awe keeps him tongue-tied.

    The other day I had the singular privilege of listening to a bureaucrat who could use statistics as effectively as Arjuna using Pasupathastra. The silence of the large audience was deafening to say the least. She reeled out statistics in support of what she was trying to convey at an incredible rate and interestingly these statistics were about things no one would have even applied his mind to. The lethal combination of a large volume of statistics and a subject, which no one could have even dreamt of, was enough to ensure rapt attention. Suffice it to say she got it.

    My tip, therefore, to aspiring speakers is to get loaded with statistics. I know what you are thinking. Is it that you have a poor memory for figures? Do you think all these numbers are far beyond your capability? Don’t despair! Who is talking about the authenticity of the statistics you are reeling out? Have you ever noticed any member of the audience making a note of the statistics that you reel out to verify later? It’s most unlikely and even if he does, it is even more unlikely that he would cross verify it on the spot and confront you! But if you are weak kneed and do not want to risk it, my suggestion is to resort to such statistics which are the my-word-against-your-word type. Do u want a few samples? Here are some: 46.5% of men say they ALWAYS put the seat up after they've used the toilet, yet women claim to ALWAYS find it down. 37% claim to know how to use all the features on their VCR. 85% of men don't use the slit in their underwear. Men do 29% of laundry each week. Only 7% of women trust their husbands to do it correctly.

    Now march forth and give it to them! In case you need more of such statistics, read magazines like 'Kalkandu'!
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  2. padmaiyangar

    padmaiyangar Bronze IL'ite

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    cheeniya,

    If persons making speach or presentation with little bit of relevant statistics it will definitely impress the participents . Eariler I have worked as superintendent in depatment of statistics and I have collected data by contacting peoples in urban and rural areas and I have done data processsing and presentation. By including statistics in my teaching as well as other speaches help me to impress the participants. By including the statistics, the subject can be under stand in a better way and clearly . with statistics problems previled can be studied and can be improved upon with proper care and to achieve the target. Every one use statistics in our daily life right from allocating expenditure for the month .

    I fully agree with you that by including bit of statistics will improve the skill of the orator

    thanks for posting about statistics
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
  3. sowminivibu

    sowminivibu Silver IL'ite

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    hi cheeniya sir,

    well for a change i can c tht its a diff topic.....very nice though and very encouraging for young ppl like us.....when i was going thru ur article the thought tht went thru my midn was the film Ramana by vijaykanth...the way he used to talk statistics in the film abt the corruption etc was the thing tht made the film a big hit....and true a u say...no one does verify the numbers we give....nice asthra to use for modern times arjunas !!!!!

    also one point tht i wud like to share is abt a successful speaker is tht..how gud are we in reaching to the audience..for instance i have seen many trainers talk to ppl in english alone.....especially when u r trainin them for soft skills i feel tht the audience dun get along with the trainer when they try to show up their command in the language.....well once in a while speaking tamil doesnt do any harm.....this is one thing which i have observed and wud like to share it with all !!!

    and also in ur post regarding arguements..thanks for calling me brilliant..i really dunno if am one but enjoyed u calling me brilliant....:-D

    lov
    sowmi
     
  4. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    It is a very interesting topic to aspiring speakers and your advice is certainly very useful. As I have found during my speeches to audiences of varying types right from International audiences to local people, the technique of starting the speech giving some quotations or jokes and then intersperse the speeches with relevant jokes holds the audience spell bound.

    On the lighter side, I am reminded of Kalaivanar N.S. Krishnan's speech on war in a movie. He will be thrusted the mike and ask to speak. He will say,' In those days, war means some people will die there some people will die here. But, nowadays war means bombing.......(he will grope for words and then will say) I will die' and pull the curtain.:)

    Regards,

    TDU
     
  5. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,

    A totally unexplored territory in posts !

    Debate, call it oratorical skill has always been my "less strong" point in from my college days- well I want to avoid using the word "weak". The very sight of a gathering in front of me used to make me feel threatened.

    When I got married, I decided to improve the same, with practising in front of Vish, who could not run away from me. My first statitic information was about the percentage of men in India who help their spouses with household work, specially cleaning the bathrooms & ofcourse, wiping them dry, so that they will gleam. I (now) think that I got carried away that I was such an effective speaker & in the process, I failed to realise that the (one & only) audience was non-
    existent ! I looked out & saw that Vish & the car were both missing. Ofcourse, that habit continues still with Vish. He says, being an accountant by profession, numbers are forever in his life & my contribution in the form of statitics was not called for !

    That incidence sealed my oratorical skills from reaching great heights.

    Well, Sri, you are comfortable, making bed coffee for your wife. You make sure, the milk never overflows & your wife is saved from the cleaning job. I must "kaathile pottufy" this piece of information to Vish. But he will repeat his favourite words "Habits die hard" ! I envy Mrs Sri !
    Love,
    Chithra.

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    Last edited: Jul 30, 2007
  6. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    That was sure a different sort of writeup by you!
    I wouldn't use the word "privilege" when I did have to address a gathering and am forced to continue to do so as a Jt. Secretary of a charitable organisation. During my school days I was a timid person though I used to perform in dramatics and also give Carnatic music performances.
    But that was all the treatise I had with public! After marriage, it was family that came first and all the rest was forgotten art! Now with my kids gone seeking their ambitions and more time to myself I involved myself with this charitable organisation and was catapulted to this position of a jt. Sec.! "Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them"! And I belonged to the 3rd category! In the discharge of my services I was once forced to talk at a public function organised by a spiritual cum charitable organisation at Chennai! Earlier I had addressed the members of my own Trust on many occassions and had come to feel at home with them. But this public address in front of a spiritual leader was a bit too much for me! Some how I read from a prepared text that seemed to appeal the audience!
    Whenever I was seated as an audience i have always fretted and fumed at long speeches given by people who have had the oppurtunity to get hold of the mikes and had the audacity to believe that 'TIME' was their sole property, meant for them alone; and the poor audience was forced to lend their ears if not their thoughts and mind to the nonsensical words pouring out of their mouths. Thanks to modern day technology, if we are forced to attend such drudgery not out of choice but out of some obligation, we can carry the ipods along and plug our ears!
    Ofcourse there are people who are born orators (and those are few) and can keep us spell-bound for hours together even if the topic chosen is of little interest to us . I remember, as a young girl, I used to love attending the lectures of Swami Chinmayananda, even though I was not a very spiritual person then.
    As you rightly say, statistics does attract the ears and as one of our other i-lites pointed, the moment I read your write-up the movie "Ramana" came to my mind. The success of the movie was partly because of the statistics! Who cares about the saying- 'lies, damned lies and statistics!'
     
  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Padma
    When I first read your comments on my post, I was puzzled to see that I had been addressed as "madam'! How did you get an impression that I could be a 'SHE'? (Not Varalotti's kind of SHE!) Hearing you address me thus, I was intrigued. Do I display any feminine characteristic in my writing? Most of our mythological heroes are reported to have certain feminine attributes making them popular and acceptable! If I do have any such attribute according to you, I am happy. But if my ID made you believe that I could be a woman, that's a different story! Anyways, it's good to see you have corrected it!

    I also feel good that my views have been vetted by a statistician herself!
    Sri
     
  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sowmi
    That was a good point you made about interspersing our speech with a liberal sprinkling of Tamil or any other vernacular words locally spoken. It's much better to fall back on the use of mother tongue in critical areas of our speech rather than using English words the usage of which we may not be very familiar.

    I was once asked to introduce a Rotary Governor at a Rotary Installation meeting. This particular Governor had to surmount a lot of difficulties and opposition to climb to the top. I was very young then and since the audience comprised of many pretty young women, I was keen to make a lasting impression on them. So in my introduction of the Chief Guest, I said that the Chief Guest had had a 'Chequered' career thinking that it was a very laudatory remark. But I was aghast when he tore me to pieces in his reply!

    I must confess here that I became more popular among the members in general and the women in particular because, as I understood later, that this man's dealings both in Rotary and in his business certainly had their dark patches! They all thought I was aware of it and made a deliberate use of the word 'chequered'! They attributed it to my guts and I became a sort of a hero in calling a spade a spade!:)
    Sri
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear TDU
    The practice of mixing our speeches with a liberal doze of jokes and anecdotes goes a long way in making them interesting. From Palkhiwala to the demographer Chandrasekar, from Kripananda Varriar to Keeran, this technique has been used with a telling effect! But we must keep updading our repertoire of jokes and anecdotes lest we should become a bore!
    I should say that your own comments in IL are extremely interesting thanks to your jokes and anecdotes. I do remember the scene involving NS Krishnan. We have a Tamil TV Channel called Podhigai which airs in instalments very old Tamil Movies in half an hour slots from 11.30 a.m. from Monday thru Friday. Last week it was Meera. Today it is Jagadalapradaban starring PU Chinnappa and NSK. NSK is indeed awesome!
    sri
     
  10. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    You amaze me saying that your oratorical skills have not reached any great heights! My last encounter with you in the august company of Varalotti definitely showed that you did have a problem with your speeches, not in starting them but in stopping them! Who would ever believe that you are wanting in oratorical skills? I would describe you as VKK Menon disguised as a woman who would talk extempore on any subject till, as they say, the wee hours of the morning!
    By the way, if Vish, being a CA, cant stand statistics having had truck loads of them in his life, you may try 'figures'! I believe auditors have a flair for 'figures'!:)
    And bed coffee for wifey?:idontgetit:
    Sri
     

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