Public speaking

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Public speaking or Oratory is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. It is closely allied to "presenting", although the latter has more of a commercial connotation.


  • For rhetoric, he could not ope
    His mouth, but out there flew a trope.
  • He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bone.
  • We fear that the glittering generalities of the speaker have left an impression more delightful than permanent.
    • F. J. Dickman, Review of Lecture by Rufus Choate, Providence Journal (Dec. 14, 1849).
  • There is no true orator who is not a hero.
  • Intererit multum Davusne loquatur an heros.
    • It makes a great difference whether Davus or a hero speaks.
    • Horace, Ars Poetica (18 BC), CXIV.
  • Thence to the famous orators repair,
    Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
    Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
    Shook the Arsenal, and fulmined over Greece,
    To Macedon, and Artaxerxes' throne.
  • List his discourse of war, and you shall hear
    A fearful battle render'd you in music.
  • I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
    I am no orator, as Brutus is;
    * * I only speak right on.
  • Fear not, my lord, I'll play the orator
    As if the golden fee for which I plead
    Were for myself.
  • Charm us, orator, till the lion look no larger than the cat.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 572-73.
  • Solon wished everybody to be ready to take everybody else's part; but surely Chilo was wiser in holding that public affairs go best when the laws have much attention and the orators none.
    • Rev. J. Beacon, letter to Earl Grey on Reform (1831). See Plutarch, Symposium, Septem Sapientintium Convivium, Chapter XI. I. (Chilo.)
  • Ce que l'on conceit bien s'énonce clairement,
    Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément.
  • The Orator persuades and carries all with him, he knows not how; the Rhetorician can prove that he ought to have persuaded and carried all with him.
  • Its Constitution—the glittering and sounding generalities of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence.
  • I asked of my dear friend Orator Prig:
    "What's the first part of oratory?" He said, "A great, wig."
    "And what is the second?" Then, dancing a jig
    And bowing profoundly, he said, "A great wig."
    "And what is the third?" Then he snored like a pig,
    And puffing his cheeks out, he replied, "A great wig."
  • Glittering generalities! They are blazing ubiquities.
  • You'd scarce expect one of my age
    To speak in public on the stage;
    And if I chance to fall below
    Demosthenes or Cicero,
    Don't view me with a critic's eye,
    But pass my imperfections by.
    Large streams from little fountains flow,
    Tall oaks from little acorns grow.
  • Allein der Vortrag macht des Redners Glück,
    Ich fühl es wohl noch bin ich weit zurück.
  • Es trägt Verstand und rechter Sinn,
    Mit wenig Kunst sich selber vor.
  • The passions are the only orators that always persuade: they are, as it were, a natural art, the rules of which are infallible; and the simplest man with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without it.
  • The capital of the orator is in the bank of the highest sentimentalities and the purest enthusiasms.
  • Præterea multo magis, ut vulgo dicitur viva vox afficit: nam licet acriora sint, quæ legas, ultius tamen in ammo sedent, quæ pronuntiatio, vultus, habitus, gestus dicentis adfigit.
    • Besides, as is usually the case, we are much more affected by the words which we hear, for though what you read in books may be more pointed, yet there is something in the voice, the look, the carriage, and even the gesture of the speaker, that makes a deeper impression upon the mind.
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistles, II. 3.
  • When Demosthenes was asked what was the first part of Oratory, he answered, "Action," and which was the second, he replied, "Action," and which was the third, he still answered "Action."
    • Plutarch, Morals. Lives of the Ten Orators. Referred to by Cicero, De Orators, III. 214. Oration 55, and Brutus. 234.
  • It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man's oration,—nay, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.
  • Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
    They rave, recite, and madden round the land.

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