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Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking:
The Body of the Speech

This is the third 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.

So far, I’ve discussed the opening or exordium and the narratio or brief outline of the speech. With these two parts, you’ve warmed up the audience to you and your topic. Now its time to get down to business. The next part of a presentation is the Partitio. Here is where you set out the main arguments that you want to make.

Ancient Secrets for Better Public Speaking: The Body of the Speech

If this is a speech to convince the audience of your views, you might say something like “What we need to do to address this problem is …”.

If this is a sales speech, you might say “The reason my products or services are particularly suited to solve your problem is …”.

If this is an expository or educational presentation, such as our dog-training example, you might say “The first thing you need to establish is your dominance in the pack. Your dog must know that you are the alpha dog.”

The classical Greeks and Romans might follow the partitio with a Confirmatio, where they would bring even further proof of their position, adding additional arguments.

So, here’s the structure of a good presentation using the classical rhetoric techniques:

  1. Introduce yourself as a likable authority on your topic.
  2. Tell the audience what you’re going to talk about.
  3. Lay out your facts, perspective or reasons for your position.

So, are you ready to close? Not really.

The next step, the Refutatio, is to clear all doubts, which I’ll discuss in my next post.

Previous Posts in this Series

3 ways to organize your speech

Looking for help in organizing 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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