45 years ago

August 28, 2008

Good lord, where does the time go? It was 45 years ago today that Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most memorable and famous speeches in modern history.

A few of us were talking today about how good Bill Clinton sounded last night after all the pretty awful speechmaking that had come before; whether or not we agree with everything he says, he is one hell of an orator. Can that be learned? someone wondered. Or do the best speakers have an innate gift? As someone who struggled in Toastmasters for a few years (and I do mean struggled), I think the best speakers are born, not made. They might have had some experience that helped them hone their skills — like Ronald Reagan’s acting or King’s preaching — but people are either comfortable speaking to large numbers of people, or they aren’t.

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