Making English presentations

Last night I attended a dinner where the President of the Canadian subsidiary of a major Japanese trading company made a speech. To say that the speech was not a success would be kind.I know that it is unlikely that many Canadians could do any better in Japanese. Yet somehow more is expected of international business people when they address a gathering in English. Perhaps this is unfair, but it is so. It is now considered a necessary skill to be able to make effective presentations in English

I think the old Greek and Roman rules of rhetoric are still valid. Everyone should study these rules. The University of Purdue has an excellent summary of classical rhetoric which I heartily recommend. These rules apply to speeches and even to sales presentation. I may get back to this subject. In any case I think business people learning English or any other language should get some training in the local practices of public speaking.

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