This book is a product of several years of Justin’s experience in the field of communication and speech making. I chose this book simply because I agree with most of the author’s arguments. I believe that in order to become an orator, one must be able in the light of Pharaoh, to make himself a craftsman in speech, making use of his major weapon which is the tongue.
Speech he said is mightier than fighting. In turn, this will create trust needed to produce audience who really believe in their speaker. For without trust and interest on the part of the audience, it is impossible to become a successful speaker in today’svolatile literary environment.
Chapter one sets forth the main components of Justin’s approach. He presents communication as an integral part of every human being. In this regard, seeing man as an intersubjective being, he believes that “communication through its intersubjective nature helps man benefit from the perceptions and inferences of others, and increases his knowledge beyond what can be achieved in loneliness and solipsism” (Justin; 2009, p. 21).
In the author’s view, there are lots of barriers in communication. Therefore, he enumerates some of the popular barriers to effective communication and invites us to guard against them. He has well given out the criteria for accessing communication competence.
In chapter two, the author brings to bare the principles for ethical communication which if observed will guide one’s speech from abuses and excess. He believes that the power of man’s speech has to be guided by a high sense of ethical integrity. This ethical communicative style for him awakens in the audience the habit of truthfulness, responsibility, self-respect and respect for others.
In the third chapter, Justin made it emphatically clear that unorganized sets of speech are mere babbling without meaning. It is in a bid to promote effective speech making and communication that the author has painstakingly laid bare the practical guides on how to prepare and deliver effective speeches.
Chapter four presents dilemma as a communication style which could be the best escape route in controversies whereby the audience is left with a persuasive rhetorical question which is dicey at the same time. The author makes it clear that the proper knowledge and use of dilemma saves one from the arguments of the listening audience. He gives out how best to make use of dilemma.
Chapter 5 looks into the rudiments of speech, organs and speech sounds. Chapter 6 examines how best to practice a speech, making it part and parcel of you for a wonderful rendition. In chapter 7, the author agrees that the ability to remember a prepared speech has to do with the memory. He analyses the different ways one can memorize his speech and deliver off-hand in order not to turn off his audience with the bored of reading a written speech.
The author in chapter 8 explains how to deliver a speech making use of verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication such as body movement, gestures, eye contacts, facial expression, and physical appearance etc. These keep the interest alive in the audience. In treating how to introduce your speech in chapter 9, Justin agrees with Cicero that the introduction of a speech ought to charm and attract the hearer straight away because for him, “this beginning goes a long way to determine the rest of your speech” (Justin., 2009, p. 129). He also gives out the major devices for wining an audience in the course of speech delivery.
Chapter 10 sets to examine how a speaker can understand the psychological dispositions and reactions of his audience and how to address them either by changing the methodology or avoiding the some factors that could serve as barriers in the communication.
The author affirms in chapters 11 and 12 that a speaker’s power of persuasion and proper use of the microphone help him communicate effectively. He narrates how a speaker can convince the audience to his line of thought through his character, emotion and logical reasoning. The last chapter, the thirteen, is the author’s masterly summary of how to conclude a speech in a strong, inspiring and elevating manner in order to arrive at the charming and attracting introduction earlier posited in the speech because, “in conclusion lies the merit and demerit of any speech” (Justin., 2016, p. 197) Justin’s Art of Oratory is of great relevance to both undergraduate and post-graduate students of literature, linguistics and mass communication.
The author has gone out of his way to balance the unavoidable technical terminology of the discipline of literature with prosaic language that makes it easy to follow the discussion. The five appendices at the end of the chapters which contains speeches from seasoned world leaders and powerful speakers are carefully designed to enhance the reader’s own involvement in the practice towards effective communication and speech making. If you are learning today how to communicate and speak effectively, I do recommend this book. It’s a clear, well thought-out, concise introduction to the field of oratory that will give you a solid foundation as you go on to learn more about effective speech making and communication in general.
REVIEWER: Gabriel O. Chukwu