Madam, I swear I use no art at all.

Where has the art of speaking hidden itself away? No one I know has practiced styles of rhetoric or analyzed speech – at least not in the verbal sense. I know a lot of people who do movement analysis of speeches. They can tell you how that politician tilts his head and make a guess about what it suggests symbolically. They can look at the hand gesture and break it down into components – catch the arc and the torque. But that is an art of analysis, not an art of creation. I suppose that those who write or make speeches might still dive into the art of them. Maybe those speech and debate clubs in high school taught them rhetorical turns that they pepper into their sentences.
But I think we do not trust someone who is obviously artful in his speech. If we catch him at it, we imagine him too crafty, too calculating – like a villain with a master plan. But if he’s truly artful, he can probably hide his skill a bit and we never see him do it. There are those who are artful conversationalists, too. They’re more improvisers, working with the material before them – saying “yes” to the people with them to create a meaningful, memorable moment for everyone involved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.