Tag Archives: Demosthenes

If Demosthenes practised, shouldn’t you?

The success of The King’s Speech and now the airing on  BBC of its documentary, The Real King’s Speech,  have sparked off a number of articles on oratory and speech-making. One of these, ” In their own words” in the Guardian, discussed how the oratorial tricks formulated by the classical masters have survived for two and a half millennia.


 Demosthenes Practising Oratory . Jean Lecompte Du Nuoy 1876

As the article explains, ‘in a culture in which oral persuasion counted for for everything , it was crucial to believe that public speaking was a skill that could be acquired by anyone prepared to put in the hard work’.  Advice given to boys training to speak persuasively included dealing with everything from how to move your hands or when to make a joke,  the rhythms, cadence and structures of effective oratory.


Whilst oratory and business pitches are very different both aim to persuade and the structure tricks of the ancients still work today. The classical tricolon,  sentences in three equal parts, is the precursor to the ‘rule of three’,  accepted by many as one of the easiest and most effective ways of organising  content effectively  in any pitch. See  Content and Staging