[page_counter]
Run a successful town hall event

Writing to Speak. And Speaking Right

April 4, 2014

Better Writing for Public Speaking

Why does public speaking turn some charismatic inspirational leaders into boring dull presenters?  We’ve all seen it. So, why does this happen?

It’s because the rules for spoken English and for written English are completely different.

Think of the pages of a novel. Now consider how the pages look in a play.  They don’t look the same. This is because plays are written to be spoken. Conversely, a beautifully crafted, grammatically-correct piece of prose can be hard on the ear. It may sound stilted and flat when read aloud. So you have a problem if a presenter writes his presentation in the same way he would a report.

To stop you falling into this trap, here are 5 tips so you have better writing for your presentations and public speaking:

 

1. Start with a bang

Written communication will start with an introduction, then work through the information, often building to a conclusion. In a presentation you need to capture your audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds – so you need to start with a headline and give them a reason to engage, and keep listening.

 

2. Use the power of three

The brain processes information delivered in three parts better than any other number. That is why we have global slogans with three words such as Nike’s “Just Do It”, Coke’s “The Real Thing” and Mars’ “Work Rest and Play”. The best way to apply this to a presentation is to divide your presentation into three sections. Start by saying what you are going to say, then say it, and finally say what you have said. Also, if you can group your points into three themes within the main body of the presentation you will give your audience a huge helping hand. Whilst it is impossible for the listener to remember every word of a presentation, this approach will give your audience the best chance of remembering your key points.

 

3. Repeat repeat repeat

In a written communication you only need to say things once. If your reader is unsure, they can re-read. However, in verbal communication we need to have things repeated, not surprisingly, an optimal three times for impact. Repetition can be used to add emphasis, highlight important parts of your presentation and even build your point with an ‘expanding three’ i.e. when you repeat a point three times, each time making it a little larger.  Remember Obama’s rally cry “We will win in the churches, we will win in the towns, we will win across America!”  In spoken language you also need to summarise and navigate your listener:  Tell then what they have heard and what they will hear next.

 

4. Use simple sentences

In written communication sentences can be joined by conjunctions, have multiple clauses, sub-clauses and so on.  However, when we listen the brain struggles with long complex sentence structure.  So keep sentences short and simple.

 

5. Don’t stick to the script!

Written communication follows a set order. Once it is published or sent, it can’t be changed… obviously. However, spoken presentations are never cast in stone. In fact, the opposite is true. The same presentation can be given differently, using different words and word order every time. You can do this for many reasons: someone has asked a question, you forgot a piece of information, there has been a request for further explanation…. However, it remains the same presentation IF you are clear what your messages are. The actual words you use to describe your messages can differ without any harm coming to your power as a communicator. That is why using short bullet points as speaker notes is generally better than using a full script.  A full script forces you to focus on the words rather than the messages.

 

The language of presentations should be the language of conversations. After all, a presentation is just a one-way conversation with a large group of individuals.

Start your journey to world-class public speaking skills now

Download our free ebook to start your journey towards becoming a Powerful Presenter.

You’ll learn our 5-step process for transforming dull, forgettable and un-engaging presentations into your most Powerful Presentations yet: inspirational, memorable and persuasive.

It’s full of practical tips and insightful quotes that will help you make immediate improvements to your leadership talks and presentations, including:

  • Increased confidence when you talk and present.
  • Improved ability to persuade your audience.
  • Greater engagement with your audience.
  • Practical ways to plan and structure your talks.
  • The inspiration and motivation to change.

Download your free copy of our Five Steps to Improve your Leadership Talks ebook now.

 

You may also be interested in...

Fundraising presentations: a survive and thrive guide for talking to investors

Apr 21, 2017

Fundraising presentations are hard work. You're bombarded with challenging questions from investors, worn out by long days, and struggling to...

Read More

Five psychology techniques for persuasive investor presentations

Apr 13, 2016

Investment decision-making is not a wholly rational process. Are you using all the tools at your disposal to create and...

Read More

Five reasons that good public speaking skills make you a better leader

Nov 11, 2016

Do your public speaking skills enable you to inspire, motivate and influence others? Many leaders in the corporate world are...

Read More

7 bad media interview mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Jan 19, 2016

You could shoot to fame for all the wrong reasons if a bad media interview goes viral. Unprepared, rude or flippant comments...

Read More

Why Body Language Matters When Pitching to Win Business

Jun 29, 2012

Better Body Language We all know that body language is important in business.  But how important? And does is really...

Read More

Confident Business Presentations – Control Your Nerves

Dec 30, 2009

We all feel nervous when we talk in public.  This is a good thing.  If we didn’t feel nervous, then...

Read More

Six essential tests for your elevator pitch

Mar 07, 2016

A weak elevator pitch is a wasted opportunity Last month I chaired the Quickfire Showcase at Berlin’s SuperReturn, the annual...

Read More

How to Take Charge of Your Media Interviews

Jan 16, 2013

Better Media Interviews The excruciating Newsnight interview with Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this summer is just one example of how poor preparation...

Read More