Some people are blessed with good oratory skills. They can speak eloquently in public as if they were talking on the phone. When I worked for a living I had to give presentations from time to time. Since I had no innate oratory skills or gift, I learned techniques to improve my public speaking. In essence, this meant preparing and practicing several hours or more to deliver a logical, well flowing speech. This was true even when I used charts to aid in my presentation. I also had to be prepared to field questions which meant I needed to really know my subject matter.

It is this last point that I want to talk more on. Of all the laws in our land, I know of no law that requires a speaker or orator to know what they are talking about. Even if such laws existed they would surely be hard to enforce. Good oratory is often a quality found in preachers and other religious, political, or community leaders who are espousing beliefs. Since beliefs and facts need not be the same thing, these speakers may be more compelling sounding like they know what they are talking about rather than actually knowing.

Years ago I heard the saying, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit.” Brilliance usually requires some form of insight, especially regarding something that others have missed. This is not always possible. As a fallback, sticking with the facts is a safe, solid strategy. On the other hand, the strategy of baffling with bullshit relies on sounding like one knows what s/he is talking about.

Unquestionably, I personally prefer that speakers know what they’re talking about when they speak. After listening to prevailing political and economic speeches and commentary, however, my observation is that I must be in the small minority.

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