The world of business relies much more on oral communication than on written communication. Spoken communication being an integral part of everyday business life, good speakers command a premium. 2. Speaking with colleagues, business associates, customers, superiors, prospects and various other sections of public in an unambiguous and convincing manner is indeed a fine skill. Spokespersons, good negotiators, people with persuasive skills, counselors, people with good presentation skills and those who have mastered the art of public speaking command great value and are much sought after in a variety of business organizations and institutions.

In the entertainment industry in particular, there is a growing demand for accomplished speakers as anchors, presenters, panelists, moderators, radio jockeys, comperes and masters of ceremonies (MCs). There are even professional speakers who are often in great demand. 3. Research carried out decades ago has shown that an average person spends about 30 per cent of his or her time speaking and about 45 per cent of his or her time listening. These findings relate to the period prior to the Onslaught of television and the advent of computers in a big way. The time spent would have undergone some change in the recent years.

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Nevertheless, the importance of spoken communication, both at the personal level and at the professional level, can hardly be underestimated. Good speaking and good listening are both vital aspects of effective verbal communication. As members of the family, society, community and business, men and women spend much of their time in oral communication. What they need to do, they must learn to do well. 4. As we have noted in the very first chapter of this book, the spoken word has assumed such great significance that people who learn the art of saying the right thing at the right time get ahead in life. In the context of management, the art of managing the mouth carries a premium. Speaking only when required, to the extent required, refraining from speaking when the situation so demands and speaking without revealing too much are aspects of managing the mouth that call for a good understanding of the role of oral communication in varied business situations.

Good speakers and orators who can win over and mesmerize the audience with their mastery over the language, depth of the subject, power of expression, fluency and style are in great demand in seminars, conferences, workshops, negotiations, brainstorming sessions, presentations and other interactive forums. 5. Speaking well is indeed an art.

An art means a skill that is especially gained through practice. Maybe, there are people for whom the gift of the gab or the ability to speak with ease is a god-given gift. All the same, it is also true that most others develop the art of speaking through sustained and conscious efforts. No one is a born speaker. Practice, observation and hard work over a period of time can turn an ordinary speaker into a great speaker.