December 23, 2010

Reading, Writing & Speaking

Being an authentic written communicator may be very different than being an authentic spoken communicator.

By authenticity, I mean being honest and generous with one’s knowledge and passion, and compassionately striving to fully and empathetically engage one’s reader or listener.

I may write a compelling and well-structured essay, with a clear point of view and takeaway, and woven together with pithy sentences. If I were to read it verbatim, however, it would sound horrific. If I were to get hung up on delivering each of those sentences, word for word, I would surely trip myself up; my attempt at delivering perfect paragraphs would result in my being frustrated, and then apologetic, and surely alienate my listeners.

I do have one client who writes each of his speeches out and is capable of reading and delivering them with gusto. He is an exception to most leaders.

Instead, when I deliver a keynote speech or facilitate a large program, I write my presentation out, allowing me to experiment with structure and vocabulary. Then, I read it aloud, several times, allowing me to recognize jarring transitions, play with rhythm, and toy with segue ways.

And when it comes time to present, I no longer distract myself with the fully developed expository speech. Instead, I glance at an outline. I have realized that I must compensate while presenting, with passion and engagement.

I do bring the fully developed composition with me, and reference it during program breaks. In this way, I get to bring up points I may have skipped while speaking. For me, the combination of outline plus composition provides the right measure of authentic engagement along with intellectual security and generosity.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive