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Foreword - Pg. xiv

xiv Foreword The Complete Idiot's Guide to Speaking in Public with Confidence well deserves a second edition. Why? Because unlike so many texts, which make up the endless seas of public-speaking tomes, manuals, and guides, Laurie Rozakis's work lucidly displays the function, guidance, and satisfaction that have maintained public speaking for over 2,000 years. Keeping the style that has made The Complete Idiot's Guide series so popular, Dr. Rozakis casually makes public speaking a delight to study, rather than a burden to bear. It has been said that 90 percent of people "would rather be in the coffin than behind the lectern!" Yet, for the sake of these would-be morgue dwellers, there is a reprieve from the rhetorical abyss: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Public Speaking, Second Edition. The Table of Contents details every strategy needed to traverse the mazes inherent in speech making: from eliminating stage fright, to understanding research, to delivering vocal panache. The book is comprehensive, readable, en- tertaining, and instructive. In critiquing public-speaking texts, I have found none that merge the last three adjectives so productively. In textbook writing such a combination is highly coveted, but hardly achieved. As a teacher, author, and professional in the delightful albeit maddening realm of public speaking, I know the frustration and attractiveness of the discipline. When Thomas Mann wrote, "Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact. It is silence that isolates," rhetoric (refined, persuasive communication) discovered yet another mantra to advocate, and Dr. Rozakis ably keeps that pledge. I have found that the beginning student in public speaking needs not only training in putting an address together, but, above all, that same student requires assurance in presenting the speech before an audience. It may be that this aura called confidence is the most demanding of all. Like any subject that requires practice, success comes from the teacher's responsibility to instill resolu- tion and the pupil's determination to exhibit that resolve. In public speaking, with each member of the audience an individual critic, the speaker must possess that sureness in both personal demeanor and schooled ability, if the speech is to be worthwhile. The speaking arena has only the speaker, the message, and the listener. However, first and foremost, the lone speaker becomes a catalyst for fusing the message to the audience. And that ability comes from proper instruction through teacher and book. Both entities must be clear in purpose, especially with public-speaking skills being demanded of most people in the work force today. It has been my experience, in teaching both students and business professionals, that a text is of utmost importance, inasmuch as the pupil spends more time with it, than with the teacher. In a stimulating way, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Public Speaking, Second Edition represents the spirit of all texts in The Complete Idiot's Guide series, which is an enjoyable combination of humor and training. With this book the novice public speaker may talk about a coffin long before ever wanting to be in one! Larry Stephen Clifton, Ph.D. Larry Stephen Clifton, Ph.D., member of the International Speaker's Network, is author of several books, including Public Speaking: An Academic and Professional Source , Your Platform is the World: Interpersonal Communication Through Vocation, Education, Inspiration, and Recreation, and The Terrible Fitzball: Melodramatist of the Macabre . In addition to his work as a public speaker