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Introduction - Pg. xvi

xvi Introduction What's as reliable as losing your quarter in a public telephone, as constant as dandruff, and as invariable as middle-aged spread? It's the scores of students who stream into my speech class every semester looking like they're ready to face a tax audit or a root canal. Gender's not a factor: The men and women seem equally wretched. It's not age, either: I've had 18- year-old freshmen and 75-year-old retirees with equally long faces and hunched shoulders. Size, shape, style--they all look like someone has killed their puppy. Every semester, I remind these woebegone men and women that they signed up for this class. (I didn't drag anyone out of their warm bed to break rocks on the chain gang.) I tell them that public speaking is not a flat tire on the expressway, a missed train, or a burned casserole. I tell them that they'll enjoy learning the fundamentals of public speaking and sharing their skills with the class. And yet they all look morose--tragic, even. By the end of the semester, the class has undergone a wondrous transformation. They're happy, really happy. Why? They've learned that they can write and deliver a good speech. And in nearly all cases, they've actually gotten to enjoy speaking in public. And you will, too--I promise. First, you'll discover that speaking in public is not a difficult skill, if you have the proper training. (That's why you bought this book.) Second, you'll acquire the tangible economic, social, and political benefits that come with mastery of public speaking. You'll see that these rewards are well worth the time it takes to learn to speak in public. And you'll discover that the intangible benefits--the pride and self-esteem that come with learning to stand up and express yourself with poise and eloquence --are even more important. Note to the second edition: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Public Speaking was one of the groundbreaking books in the Com- plete Idiot's Guide series. It's with great pride, then, that I embrace the task of revising the book as it goes into its second printing. Now you get even more for your money! The second edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Public Speaking contains brand-new chapters on the communication process, debate, parliamentary procedure, nonverbal communication, and evaluation. There's even an entire chapter on using Microsoft PowerPoint to create effective and impressive presentations. I was able to add many more speeches for you to use as models, too. Many of these are now included in the chapters for ease of use. I'm thrilled that the first edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Public Speaking was received so well. I know you'll find this edition even more useful. What You'll Learn in This Book This book is divided into six sections that take you through the process of writing and delivering a speech. You'll come to learn that giving a speech involves much more than just standing at a podium and talking--in fact, that's the easy part!