The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Public Speaking: Freedom From the Fully Written Text

If you have long been wed to a fully written manuscript for public speaking, let me suggest an alternative. No matter how well rehearsed you are, no matter how well you read, working from a fully written text (even perfectly polished) sounds ... well ... read.

I suggest to you being bold enough to venture out into the world of the bullet point text reminders instead. Here's how it works for those who have spent years writing everything out.

Take a deep breath, be calm, much will be the same.

Begin with your note taking as usual.

Create you outline. Place your notes in order throughout your outline.

Now, take the leap of faith you have probably considered before.

Instead of writing out your manuscript as usual from your organized notes, commit to creating just a few pages of bullet points instead.

When you have committed to moving forward with the bullet points, you'll quickly realize you are going for a more lively story telling method of delivery. This will change how you think about organizing your material and what to include. You'll probably lean toward more emotive material that is easier to remember and deliver and jettison a lot of intriguing but tedious (and difficult to remember) details that give your delivery an academic feel.

It is very important that you DO NOT write out that manuscript, AT ALL. It will only paralyze you later when you desperately try to remember all those beautiful transitions and pretty turns of phrases. You do not need them! Your more natural delivery will carry the day.

Give yourself enough information with each bullet to remind you where you are going at each step in your presentation.

Avoid complete sentences to avoid the temptation to read.

When you are finished with the bullet points, if you discover you have created too many pages beyond what you planned for, brutally edit down what you have written. Root out those full sentences that have crept in.

What you will discover is that you are now liberated. You have more time to practice as you've cut down on hours of writing time. You will be looking up at your audience far more often and they will find you more engaged with them and more interesting to listen to. You will actually enjoy yourself far more as you will be telling stories instead of reciting what you have written. You'll quickly discover that your delivery will be more creative and as you work on practicing you may well discover narrative threads and images that connect throughout the text that you did not realize were present all along and you will emphasize those, much to your own delight and the enjoyment of your audience.

If you are held back by the fear that you will forget some detail or other, remember YOU and only YOU know what you intend to say. If you jettison some small detail or other by accident, only you will ever know (provided you don't tell anyone ... i.e., don't be a blabbermouth about that). You can do this. You should do it. It is liberating the very first time you do it. You may even discover that your body gets more involved in the story telling than it ever has before. That shows you the new level of engagement you have achieved. I cannot encourage you enough to make this move.

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