The Book In Depth

Tongue Tied America Book CoverTongue-Tied America:  Reviving the Art of Verbal Persuasion argues that public speaking in an essential skill for every American: personally, professionally, and because we live in a representative democracy.  Despite the importance of public speaking, a large majority of people are fearful of doing it, and only a tiny minority have any training in how to go about it.  The book sets out to explain how to do it well.  The authors are law school professors and lawyers with decades of public speaking experience between them.  The book addresses the specific needs of lawyers, law students, and politicians, but will also be of interest to any professional whose position requires him or her to speak publicly.

Tongue-Tied America is a book broader in scope and deeper in detail than any prior modern undertaking.  It provides the reader a concise but comprehensive grounding in the rules of classical rhetoric; contains a detailed “how-to” section that walks the reader through the process of writing a speech, delivering it well, and thinking strategically about how to convince particular audiences; and examines the role that public speaking plays in daily life in myriad settings, from the courtroom to the boardroom to the Presidential podium.  The final section of the book examines numerous well-known oral presentations, explaining why they work and how.  This companion website includes videos illustrating how to deliver a speech well, breaking down for the listener the exact components that make a speech effective.

Fascinating and concise, Tongue-Tied America: Reviving the Art of Verbal Persuasion features:

  • A comprehensive review of the principles of speech writing from the perspectives of classic rhetoric and cognitive psychology
  • Crisp descriptions of the keys to successful public speaking, based on lessons taken from the law, theater, and psychology
  • Everything you need to know to deliver a successful speech
  • What to do with your hands and feet
  • Avoiding verbal ticks (such as “uh,” and “um …”)
  • Developing an awareness of cadence
  • Connecting with your audience
  • Exercises for improving voice and overcoming stage fright
  • Beginning and ending a speech with force and interest
  • Tips and checklists
  • Numerous practical examples that illustrate what works and what doesn’t, with helpful analysis
  • Strategies and techniques for addressing and persuading different types of audiences

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