About the time I decided to pursue speaking as a career I discovered... (or was it invented?)... "Speakers College" (which is different from "Speakers University" which I created later).
Speakers College happens every four years in the late summer. I first recognized this valuable institution in 1996 and have attended religiously each time it comes around. Anyone who wants to improve their public speaking skills can enroll as a student.
What is Speakers College? It is the combination of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Each run for three or four days, along with some key addresses in they days immediately before and after the events.
The broadcast networks cover the main prime-time speeches by they party leaders and other celebrities, while other less famous presenters can be found on cable TV or online.
In order to benefit from the advantages of Speakers College one must leave their political feelings outside. If you get irritated or mad at the policy positions taken by the speakers you will miss the chance to review the elements of style and delivery. Students at Speakers College are there to learn, not scream at the TV because of opposing opinions.
Not all of our national leaders are actually that good at giving speeches. One would think that to reach the highest levels of government that you would gain some oratory capabilities... but the reality is the great ones are few and far between.
In my life time there have been only a few who could really give a fantastic speech (these come from all both of the isle). But we do not only learn from the good examples. The times when speakers fall flat, or come off wooden are also learning opportunities.
Politicians do not usually write their own speeches. They have paid speech writers who craft the words. Listen closely as you will find some wonderful examples of imagery. While the credit goes to the candidate, the best lines are often wordsmithed by their staff.
Watch their poise, vocal variety, level of comfort, body language, eye contact, hand gestures, tone, and comfort level as a speaker. How they behave may or many not directly relate to how you will speak.... but you can learn if you watch.
There are no formal classes at Speakers College. No dormitories or meal plans. No quizzes or final exams. There is no football team (But it is like one big fraternity party if you watch closely). Yet if you enroll you can learn a lot from the teachers from both parties.
Have A Great Day.