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Fundamentals of advocacy taught at the Lyceum of Aristotle.*

At the Lyceum the study of public speaking was broken into five parts. Composition or invention; disposition; elocution or expression; mnemonics and action or delivery. Composition involved the conceiving and selection of ideas and propositions. Disposition was the art of expressing those ideas and propositions in appropriately selected words and suitably constructed sentences. Elocution or expression (if I may be permitted) speaks for itself. Mnemonics was memory training. Action or delivery was the developed skill of presentation of self as the vehicle for conveying the ideas and propositions to an audience.
These, then, are the basics of advocacy of which we should remind ourselves on our visit back through the centuries. But above all, we must constantly keep in mind what Aristotle dinned into his pupils that the essence of the art of advocacy is persuasion. How often, in our assemblage of proofs, do we substitute volume for quality? How often, in our presentation of them, does tedium dominate attraction? How often do we, in our audience, assume interest rather than earn it?

*Taken from an article by Mr Justice John H Phillips in [1997] ALJR 347 "The Peripatos" - of walking

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