Effective Public Speaking (CMST233)
Here’s a situation. You are representing a company selling a product that you know has a
comparative weakness. Will you make your prospective customer aware of these weaknesses,
even if it lessens the chances you will make the sale and secure your job?
This particular predicament is just one example of a typical, every-day choice that salesman’s face on whether to “do the right thing” in today’s world of competitive marketing and business. One would assume that a respectable salesman is obligated to provide their customers with an honest, unbiased overview of their ...view middle of the document...
Gorgias’s replies are, at first, very short phrases and words like “yes”, “of course not”, “precisely”, and “to be sure”. Socrates seems to be the only one digging for understanding during this initial phase of the debate, with Gorgias’s replies coming off as passive, nonchalant, and indifferent. Later on, however, Gorgias does become more and more engaged in the conversation and extrapolates his points more thoroughly.
Later on in the conversation, Gorgias argues how an orator’s words usually far outweigh other people’s advice in group meetings, such as carpenters and doctors, even if the subject pertains a carpenter’s or doctor’s expertise. Gorgias believes that it is simply because of the orator’s speaking and rhetorical skills that help gain more influence over the people than skilled professionals. However, Gorgias explains a certain moral code that comes with such influential power:
“Exactly the same argument holds for rhetoric also. The rhetorician is capable of speaking against everyone else and on any subject you please in such a way that he can win over vast multitudes to anything, in a word, that he may desire. But the fact that he can rob doctors, or any other craftsmen, of the credit due them, is no reason why he should do so: he must use his skill justly, exactly as one should physical prowess. And if a man learns rhetoric, and then does injustice through the power of his art, we shall not be right, in my opinion, detesting and banishing his teacher. For while the teacher imparted instruction to be used rightly, the pupil made a contrary use of it. Therefore it is only right to detest the misuser and banish and kill him, not his teacher.”
Furthermore, near the end of Socrates and Gorgias’s discussion, Gorgias establishes his belief that a good orator will always succeed over an expert in an uninformed or “ignorant” audience, simply because the crowd doesn’t know any better and the orator offers much more rhetorical influence and conviction than the skilled professional.
Plato’s Gorgias offers considerable relevance and reference to our “do-the-right-thing” situation presented in the introduction. In...