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How to Be Heard

Mastering six overlooked fundamentals of clear communication.

When this article appeared in Leadership, exactly a decade ago, readers gave it high marks. Many books and articles on preaching, it seems, are too simple or too complex. Readers told us they appreciated this article by Fred Smith because it applies expert wisdom to the basics. It's uncommonly wise on the common elements of public speaking.

Every summer you can find advertisements for basketball or football camps where big-name stars, for a fee, will instruct young people dreaming of athletic greatness.

I wonder how much actual learning takes place when an all-star quarterback, who spends most of his time reading and outmaneuvering sophisticated defenses, tries to coach a junior-higher who's still trying to figure out how to grip the ball with hands that aren't quite big enough.

Sometimes people learn more, not from the superstars who have long since learned to perform the basics without conscious thought, but from others only slightly further down the road, those who've recently ...

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