Monthly Archives: September 2009

“The Bard” Idea

Fellow Speaker,

Here in Scotland, and indeed throughout the Celtic nations, we have inherited a 4,000+ year old oral tradition – we call it the bardic tradition. Our poets, satirists and learned men would spend between 7 and 20 years grappling with a challenging syllabus, one that had prose, poetry, storytelling and song as its core. It was through repeated experience of these disciplines the future public performers emerged, learning their craft, engaging with their audience, lifting your mood, dashing your hopes, toying with your emotions, confronting your hypocrisy, invisibly reaching into your heart and searching for your soul. For they knew then, 4,000+ years ago, that words are powerful; they knew then that successful public performance required a multi-dimensional approach. I’m proud to say today that The Speakers’ College recognises this aspect of public performance too. Indeed, as proud inheritors of this most ancient of traditions – the bardic tradition – we understand implicitly that to become a professional public speaker requires a challenging syllabus and repeated experience and opportunity to practise and rehearse with prose, and poetry and storytelling and “yes” sometimes even song! Here at The Speakers’ College we call this “The Bard” Idea. It is our inspirational method of becoming a multi-dimensional performer. We learn from the words, songs and stories of Robert Burns (The Bard) amongst others. We become inspired through reaching into the great oral traditions of the past and in the process today we learn the craft of professional public speaking that serves us well into the future – for in this future we too then leave a fine legacy, a new yet vibrant oral tradition for our children to follow. We become multi-dimensional performers using prose, and poetry and storytelling and sometimes even song. And you know the best thing about this, the thing that gives me the greatest kick? It is when even the tongue-tied, overly nervous sceptics who have tried it simply have to agree: It’s not a Bard Idea!

Bobby Livingston
The Speakers College


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