Is speaking an art or a science? I say it's both. Although my approach is the science of speaking, public speaking is also an art. First you need to know the rules or mechanics. Once you know the fundamentals that's when you can improvise and get creative. In truth, we need to use both sides of the brain to be effective speakers. Even universities are realizing the importance of right brain thinking in business. A new trend is emerging in higher education. Business majors, musicians, accountants and actors are sitting together in class to bridge the gap between art and business. Philadelphia University has a program called Building a Business Bridge for your Art. Julliard School and Fordham University offers a class, How to be a virtuosic genius-and get paid for it. It seems the starving artist may be going the way of the wooly mammoth. So what is the lesson for public speakers? As a speaking strategist I find that some of my coaching clients forgo the "art" of speaking. They load their PowerPoint presentations with heavy text, data, full sentences, and jargon. Data and evidence are important. And so are stories, metaphors, humor, interaction, games, and enthusiasm. Even timing can be an art. Pausing can change the meaning of your message. A long, dramatic pause can evoke emotion where a quick pause will not. It was Artur Schnabel who said, "The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides."
Public speakers who have good content that is relevant to the audience and can entertain the audience have truly mastered the fine art of public speaking.
How do you practice the art of public speaking? If the pauses between the notes is where the art of music resides, where does the art of public speaking reside?