Why are good writers not necessarily good speakers?

How managers benefit from good rhetoric


"Yes we can", he said when he took office - and with this "slogan" enthused the entire US nation at the time. President Barack Obama shows the motivating effect of good rhetoric. Why it is also important for managers and what is important.

Obama has a lot of charisma as a speaker. What is his trump card in rhetoric? He has a direct, uncomplicated and clear choice of words that he uses for precise, unambiguous messages. The rhetorical instruments that Obama uses without false pathos would also be good for any manager's showpiece. Because what he says usually shows his clear stance, which, however, does not appear demagogic, as rhetoric experts judge. They do not fail to have an impact in the political arena. The speeches or lectures of the President are always entwined with typical emotional terms that appear regularly in his speeches. There are topics like hope, action or belief in change. Regardless of whether it is a crisis topic or general context, this causes increased attention and therefore the rhetorical pattern can also be easily transferred to the presentation and speaking style of managers.

How rhetoric reflects personality

In the second edition of their book "Rhetorik für Managers", the authors Baldur Kirchner, Sebastian Kirchner and Alexander Kirchner find exactly this causal relationship: how speech should be designed as an expression of the personality of managers. From the effect of correct breathing to the speaking appearance to the emotional component and the individual ability of a person to speak, which extends into the applied rhetoric, they describe, among other things, how rhetoric results from the personality structure. Perhaps the most important thesis of the authors can be found in the chapter "Applied Rhetoric": "Being able to convince is inconceivable without self-discipline", it says there. Because control over one's own behavior determines the course of the presentation or the dialogue. Kirchners also propagate "thought discipline" in rhetoric in order to focus all attention on the communicative event. Looking back on Obama, the authors are right: Even the president is usually deliberately controlled in his speech and attitude in his speeches, unlike what Bush or Clinton, for example, sometimes thought.

What criteria apply to managers when speaking

It is especially true for managers that the occasions when they, as a manager, have to speak freely either in the context of an individual speech or a dialogue, place very different demands on them. Motto: The higher a manager is in the hierarchy, the more often he is asked to speak in his professional sphere, but also in non-professional representation tasks, according to the author's experience. They can benefit a lot from properly used rhetoric when it comes to achieving certain goals and conveying them appropriately in verbal messages. Part of good preparation

  • a topic that is structured in suitable steps of meaning,

  • the right address,

  • Breaks,

  • Appreciation of the audience,

  • the right voice quality and

  • emotional criteria that can be included at the beginning of a speech, for example.

Especially for the structures of speeches, the rhetoric experts show various analytical models according to which speeches and the goals that are to be achieved with them can be designed. You are convinced: whether in politics or business - the goals announced in the speeches of managers will only find acceptance if the audience can identify with them.

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Winfried Prost: Rhetoric and Personality. How to appear confident and charismatic