How many big words do you know? How good were you with vocabulary in grammar school?
These are two questions that tie into something everyone should know when working on their next speech.
I’ve written more than a few speeches — for me and for others — and I’ve seen plenty come across my desk from speakers and communications folks writing speaking points for their corporate executives.
Here is the ONE simple rule when writing your speech:
“Write like you speak, and never speak like it’s written.”
Think about it. Big words are great on paper and good for journalists or authors telling stories with impressive descriptive words. But rarely, if ever, do people drop those same big words on people in conversation. And, after all, speeches are supposed to be conversational.
So, think back to your grammar days, when you were learning basic vocabulary words. To this day, adults engage in conversation using the most basic words, not the most complex. We want people to stay with us, not lose focus trying to understand what you’re saying.
Public speaking is a non-written form of communication that is meant to be conversational. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Kill them with information and as many big words as you can.” Instead, it’s about holding people’s attention and engaging your audience. We do that through dynamic delivery — not a delivery of the dictionary.
So when writing your next speech, try not to worry about every last word. Write for delivery of your message. Our goal is not to create an audience “word search,” but to send people out the door ready to spread your message.
As always, thanks for following and sharing in this blog. Follow me on Twitter @KraigKann.