If there is one thing in the world that all of us would probably like to do it’s to lose some weight. No matter if it’s just a few pounds or a whole bunch, we’d all like to be just a bit smaller than we are right now. What’s interesting about this is that there is a real good chance that despite the importance of public speaking, our speeches could probably stand to lose some weight in terms of the number of words that we try to cram into them also. The trick is knowing how to drop the pounds and keep them off.
How Do Speeches Become Overweight?
How do our speeches become overweight in the first place? I mean, when we sit down to write a speech, we don’t think to ourselves “… just how many words will my audience let me get away with stuffing into this speech…” Instead, the process by which a normal sized speech becomes a puffy, overloaded speech is a bit sneakier than that.
We always seem to start out with the best of intentions. We create a speech that we believe communicates the points that we’d like to get across to our audience. That’s when things start to go wrong. Oftentimes the speech that we write reflects the way that we initially thought about our topic: it started here, went there, and finally ended up over there. The result is a meandering mix of thoughts, ideas, and way too many words.
Things can get even worse from this point forward. During the speech review process we can think of different ways to say things that are already contained in our speech. What happens then is that we go ahead and add these additional words to our speech without removing anything. What started out as an overweight speech, just got a bit bigger.
How Can We Slim Down Our Speeches?
As in the real-life challenge of losing weight, slimming down a speech is never an easy thing to do. We are in love with our words and it pains us to even consider dropping any of them.
However, if we want to shrink our out-of-control speeches back down to a manageable size, then we’ve got to find a way to shed some words from our speech. What you are going to want to do is to remove any unnecessary words from your speech. Please keep in mind that what we’re talking about here is not that you should remove words that paint pictures in your audience’s mind. Nor should you strive to shorten all of your sentences.
Instead, what we’re talking about is using just one word to replace instances where we have longer phrases. For example, the phrase “… the car that ran so very fast …” could be replaced with “the fast car”.
The key to being able to slim a speech is to have a big vocabulary – it gives you more options. The simplest way to build your vocabulary is to read. Read a lot. Read for fun, read to learn, but just make sure that you find the time to read. By doing this you’ll be better prepared to put your next speech on a word crash diet.
What Does All Of This Mean For You?
Every public speaker loves words. It’s how we express the ideas and concepts that we want to get across to our audiences. However, all too often it’s because of our love of words that our speeches can grow in size and quickly become overweight and our audience may not be able to experience the true benefits of public speaking because they can’t see what we are really trying to tell them.
In order to get our next speech to slim down, we need to take action today. The simplest way to get a more slender and shapely speech is simply by dropping words that you don’t need. Don’t stop there, take the extra step and replace phrases that are not adding a lot of meaning with powerful words that will cause your audiences to more quickly understand what you are trying to tell them.
Anyone can write a speech. The mark of a true master speech writer is one who has the ability to go back and shape a speech by dropping unnecessary words and only using words that are absolutely necessary. When you unveil your new, slimmer speech to your next audience they’ll be wowed and amazed by it and it will have an even greater impact than your previous speeches.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to slim a speech down too far?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
What will your audience remember longer: your next speech or a great meal that they’ve just had? I hate to admit it, but I’m willing to bet that despite the importance of public speaking, the meal has a better chance to stay on their mind than our speeches. Why is that? Could it be that the meal did a better job of using spices to create a lasting memory?