Although not within the business sphere, Archbishop Fulton Sheen was one of the most watched and listened to public speakers of his time. Andrew Apostoli (as cited in Sheen, 2008) shows that Sheen was so influential that after moving from his radio show (with which he had 4 million listeners) to his weekly television show, his audience exploded to over 30 million viewers which was more than the show scheduled after it led by Milton Berle! Archbishop Sheen was so popular and influential with his television series that he won an Emmy in 1952 for “The Most Outstanding Personality on Television” (Intro p. XVIII).
What made Sheen so popular? When watching his show or listening to his recordings, it is easy to see that he employs a mastery of public speaking techniques. Every show began with a funny anecdote that was related to the topic matter and served to draw people in and frequently used this technique throughout his talks to maintain attention and interest. After only a few shows, the listener or viewer became excited to hear the next story. The display of mastery did not end there as during his talks Sheen displayed complete control over the use of tonal variety, speaking volume, the almost complete lack of filler words all of which are elements to delivering a presentation as shown by Donald Baack (2012, section 10.4). Sheen was known for speaking on topics relevant to the audience and delivering it in a way which was both memorable to and compatible with the audience, especially given the fact that he never used notes in his talks!
Baack, D. (2012). Management communication [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://ashford.content.edu
Sheen, F.J. (2008). Life of Christ. New York, New York: Doubleday.
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