Oregon Guardsmen learn the importance of public speaking from seasoned veteran

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Chelsi Spence
  • 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing spent two days learning speech writing and delivery techniques from an industry expert during a presentation here Dec. 16-17.

Dr. Rosemary King, a former speech writer for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and two Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to Airmen about the importance of body language and speech delivery.

"How well you speak matters," said King during the opening remarks for her presentation.

King highlighted six specific areas while preparing for a speech. The first day of training provided information on structure and delivery of speeches.

"The three take-a-ways I want you to remember about structure are to keep it simple, keep it short and keep it easy to follow," King said.

King emphasized the importance of looking natural while giving a speech and suggested the best way to know how you look when giving a speech is to record yourself.  If you are a pacer, put newspaper on the ground while you practice and listen to the crinkling of the paper. That will help you to stop going back and forth, she said.

The second day of training focused on audiences, headlines, storytelling, and slides.  King mentioned the importance of knowing your audience and finding the common ground between you and them.

"The bottom-line when it comes to audiences, your message may not change, but your approach should," said King.

She also emphasized the need for an attention grabbing headline because this is what people remember as they leave.  After a few more tips and tricks, King split the Airman into four groups and had them practice the skills they learned by having them address the group on several different topics including why they serve.

"Dr. King spent two days with us giving us fantastic tools to help us in the public speaking arena," said Col. Paul T. Fitzgerald,142nd Fighter Wing commander.  "Here is an individual who wrote speeches and coached leaders at the highest levels within the Department of Defense and she came to our Wing to share her advice."

King's presentation skills training is the most recent contribution to the Wing's ongoing mentorship program.
"Public speaking is a skill set that we use on a daily basis around here," said Fitzgerald. 

"Whether we make comments at a staff meeting or a major presentation, public speaking is an area where even the very best of us have room for improvement.  This is what our mentorship program is all about - helping Airman at all ranks to become the very best leaders in their field."

King is a retired Air Force officer who is also a published author with over 20 years of communications, leadership, and program management experience.  She has 10 years of experience writing speeches for the Secretary of Defense, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Senators, and CEOs.  During times of war, she has written over 250 speeches a year for the nation's top ranking defense officials.