Welcome back to our series on public speaking. We will continue by starting off where we left last time by looking at Cicero’s Five Canons of Rhetoric. In the last edition of this series of articles, we also looked at three elements of classical Greek rhetoric: logos, ethos and pathos.
The key to Cicero’s canons of rhetoric ultimately lies in making an audience emotionally invested in your argument as:
“To sway the audience’s emotions is victory; for among all things it is the single most important in winning verdicts.” - Cicero, de Oratore
Therefore, in order to learn from Cicero and to apply these lessons to our speeches in Model UN, let us consider his five canons of Invention, Dispositio, Elocutio, Memoria and Actio In the next article in this series we will look at body language and delivery.
Any good speech will refer to several resources which can be used to persuade an audience, most notably the following: maxims, facts, statistics, testimony, examples, narratives and topics.
A good example of this can be seen in the famous “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr in which he effectively uses alliteration: the occurrence of a same letter or sound at the start of closely connected words.
“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice”,
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The use of alliteration places emphasis on certain ideas and how they can change from dark, desolate and segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Indeed, if we do not accurately memorize a speech, it can result in the speaker feeling self-conscious and therefore awkward if the speech is written in haste. While it is difficult to memorise a speech in Model UN, we will look at delivery techniques that will enable you to appear more confident whilst delivering a speech in the next article.
The components of delivery are as follows: appearance, gesture, position, eye contact, articulation, pronunciation, dialect, pitch, volume, pauses and rate. We will also delve more into these in our next article.