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Archive for May, 2022

When I rewrote the speech for the fifth time I came to realise that speech-writing is a whole different creature. As a writer, I write for a reader to visualize a perspective of another reality. While as a speaker, my speech has to be written to get the audience involved in a matter of seconds.

I have discovered that the speaker is just an instrument, carrying a message, to impact the audience. Therefore the most important person in this whole equation is the audience, not the speaker standing on stage delivering his/her address. The ability to charm, to entice and to keep the attention of an audience requires talent and training. And while delivering the speech, one must be mindful to share emotions through tonal quality and gestures.

A speech, delivered with wit and enthusiasm, sells the meaning, the moral, the purpose and creates an impact long after the speaker has left the stage.

While on this journey to be an impactful speaker, I have come to appreciate the ability to communicate and present with effectiveness. I am even more in awe of people who can orate with such power and impact. It is a gift.

My journey as an author, has been writing stories that are evolving and developing in my head. I don’t communicate directly with a reader, I have time to edit, rewrite, and to reevaluate how to structure my work. It is a process. I can take my time to deliver my best work in writing.

Speaking requires a different format. It is having the confidence to meet the audience face-to-face and share an opinion with powerful words, voice, and persona. Using words, structuring an idea, and then articulating them with clarity – all of that in a limited time frame – what skill!!

When I was preparing my speech that would be evaluated on tonal quality and body language, I did practice in front of an imaginary audience, conscious of my hand movements, of my voice, presence and my expressions.

When I delivered my speech to the audience, I added more drama, and it felt like I was acting out a play. It was fun. I received a positive evaluation, and recognition for good use of body language, however I could have done better with vocal variety. The learning continues…

Differences between authoring a book and writing a speech:

  1. Speech: Write with the audience in mind, what will grip them, the way one delivers the first few words are important.
  2. Book: write to build a world for the reader to visualize. Be descriptive, be detailed with words that create an impact.
  3. Speech: When you share a story, don’t go too much into the details, bring the audience right into the centre of the story, like it is unfolding for them in the now. Keep them vested in what you are going to say next, like this: ‘I was in the Doctor’s office. I was only 8 years old, living in Africa….’ The suspense starts right away to capture the audience’s attention.
  4. Book: ‘When I was only 8 years old, I was living in a small town in Africa. I was a restless imaginative child who loved playing outdoors in the hot sun. Despite repeated warnings from my mother to stay indoors in the afternoons, I sneaked out to chase orange-grey lizards in the courtyard. I was a skinny little kid, and a poor eater. Worried about my health, my parents took me to visit the Doctor…’ When writing a book, it gets descriptive, and ideally one needs to create context, build the backdrop of the story slowly.
  5. Speech: Use gestures, pauses, emotive tones, expressions. Get the audience involved in your speech, in the way you are vested in it, get them to feel your joy or pain.
  6. Book: Describe emotions, all the five senses are explored to paint a picture of what’s happening. It is more detailed.

In both ways, the ability to touch hearts through words is the true power of communication.

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