Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:
Tell Them What You’re Gonna Say

This is the second in a series of five posts about classical techniques of rhetoric used by famed orators such as Socrates, Plato and Cicero. If you missed any in the series, you can find links near the end of this post.

In my last post, I discussed how to open a presentation … what the classical orators called the exordium. This is where you gain your audience’s sympathy and convince them that you know what you’re talking about.

Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:Tell Them What You're Gonna Say


The next step, or narratio, is where you tell the audience what you are going to tell them in your presentation. In the narratio, you give the audience a brief outline of what you’re going to be telling them in the rest of the speech.

To continue the dog-training analogy from my last post, you might say this next:

Dogs are pack animals, that is they live in packs or groups. There is a certain psychology that goes along with this way of living — a psychology that you can use to train your dog to behave in ways that promote peace and harmony in your relationship with him or her.

So to sum up what I’ve discussed so far, a good presentation that uses the classical rhetoric techniques of the classical Greeks and Romans is:

  1. Introduce yourself as a likable authority on your topic.
  2. Tell the audience what you’re going to talk about.

Together, these steps establish you as the right person to be giving this presentation. Your audience is now ready to hear the body of the presentation, which I’ll discuss in my next post.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the partitio, or where you set out the main arguments of your presentation.

Previous Posts in this Series

3 ways to organize your speech

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About the author

Carma Spence, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Superpowers and turning their knowledge and interests into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

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