A few weeks ago, we explored the topic of influence and persuasion in the workplace. Today, I’ll further share my learning about “how to speak, how to speak effectively and how to speak like a leader”. By no means I consider myself done with learning and improving in this area. But I have gathered valuable insights from career coaches, speechwriting experts, and organizational leaders. I’m eager to share some of these experiences and lessons with you today.
Rhetorical Device that Schools don’t Teach
The Roman rhetorical device, also known as figura etymologica, is a literary technique used to emphasize a particular word or phrase by repeating it in a different form.
This device involves using words that have the same root or etymology but different grammatical forms. By doing so, the speaker or writer can draw attention to a specific concept or idea and create a memorable impact on the audience.
For example, in the famous phrase -
“Veni, vidi, vici”
(I came, I saw, I conquered) attributed to Julius Caesar, the repetition of the verb “to come” in different tenses adds emphasis and power to his triumphant message. The Roman rhetorical device is just one of many techniques used in ancient Roman rhetoric to enhance persuasive communication. But it’s a powerful one to start speaking like a leader.
Another example of Nelson Mandela using asyndeton:
“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all.”
Asyndeton is a technique that involves the deliberate omission of conjunctions between words or phrases in a sentence. It is used to create a sense of urgency or to emphasize each individual item in a list.
Mandela’s use of asyndeton in this speech highlights his vision of equality, peace, and basic necessities for all South Africans.
Have you noticed that the good things come in threes? 🤓
A simple adaptation when you give a speech as a leader is to weave these sets of threes into your talk.