Your Freedom to Speak
“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”― George Washington
The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees all U.S. citizens freedom of speech. It reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
After two-hundred and thirty-three years, this Constitutional amendment still gives you and me the freedom to speak on any subject, at any time, at any place.
Below are three significant benefits of this guaranteed right of free speech:
Freedom to Speak on Any Topic of Your Choosing
You may have heard someone that disagrees with you say, “I don’t agree with what you are saying, but I will defend your right to say it.” That person disagreeing with you is a true blue American!
We take this right to speak for granted on any topic of your choosing. But, do you realize there are people in other countries, even supposedly free countries, that do not have freedom of speech enshrined in the country’s founding documents like the United States Constitution?
Whether you speak on motorcycle maintenance, sailing around the world, how to take strokes off your golf game, or a million other topics, you have the freedom to speak about it.
The point here is there has never been a country like the United States with the freedom to choose any topic.
Your freedom to speak on any topic you choose is a freedom we all enjoy in the United States.
Included in your right to freedom of speech is the freedom to voice your opinion on any topic.
Freedom to Voice Your Opinion on Any Topic of Your Choosing
You not only have the freedom to choose a topic on which to speak. In addition, you have the freedom to voice your opinion on any topic of your choosing.
You still need to include all the requirements of a great speech – supporting your main points, respecting your audience’s opinion, and being interesting.
When supporting my main points, I like to think of what Earl Nightingale said about persuading your audience: “Use a flyrod, not a feeding tube.” In other words, use the facts in your supporting subpoints to convince your audience of your way of thinking.
Radio talk show host in Miami, Florida, Brian Mudd, is fond of saying, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but everyone is also entitled to just one set of facts.
The point here is there has never been a country like the United States with the freedom to voice your opinion on a topic of your choosing.
Another freedom of speech right is the freedom to deliver, in your way, a topic of your choosing.
Freedom to Deliver, in Your Way, a Topic of Your Choosing
If you are a regular reader of these articles (I hope you are.), you know there is a myriad combination of rhetorical devices you already have in your speaking “quiver” in which to deliver your message.
Maybe you are a storyteller. If you are a storyteller, good. Although there are many other ways to engage your audience, storytelling is among the best.
Maybe you are great at varying your vocal delivery at just the right time to convey the mood you want your audience to have.
You may be a master of the strategic pause in your speaking delivery. If you are a master at this, you will have your audience “eating out of your hand.” Not good at pauses? Plan them into your presentation delivery, and you will get better at them, guaranteed.
I’ve given you three ways to vary your delivery: tell a story, vary your vocal delivery, and use strategic pauses. But, of course, there are many more of them.
Like a blank canvas for a painter to create a masterpiece, you can start with a blank speech “canvas” and create a masterpiece of oratory. You just have to keep on keeping on until you achieve it.
The point here is there has never been a country like the United States with its freedom of speech delivery on a topic of your choosing.
The three speech freedoms we have discussed today (freedom to speak on any topic, freedom to voice your opinion, and freedom to deliver in your way) are three great reasons making the United States a wonderful country in which to speak.
Make sure you design your presentations with these freedoms in mind.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees them!
Call to Action
Practice the following freedoms:
To speak on any topic
To voice your opinion
To deliver your presentations in your way.
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”― Benjamin Franklin
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals by improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at email@example.com and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”