Stop writing, start talking

presentations Jul 13, 2021
Don't write in silence, talk it out on to the page.

A lot of people - most people in my experience - prepare a speech like our friend in the picture above.

  • They sit in silence at a keyboard
  • Think of words
  • Brain sends message to fingers
  • Fingers tap keys
  • Words appear on screen
  • Eyes evaluate words on screen, and send message back to brain
  • Brain processes data and sends message to fingers to change words

What’s missing?

Two vital organs don’t get a look-in during this critical process.

The mouth and the ears.

You’re not supposed to be writing to your audience. You are supposed to be speaking to them.

But if you prepare like this - in silence, thinking great thoughts quietly - your speeches will almost always suffer. You’ll be reading at the audience.

You see, we all use two vocabularies.

There’s the one we use in conversation:

  • Simple words
  • Short sentences
  • Sometimes not even sentences
  • Just fragments
  • Very direct
  • And the words slide easily off the tongue

And then there’s the vocabulary we use when we are writing:

  • Bigger words
  • More syllables
  • More complex sentences
  • More subordinate clauses

When we are in ‘writing’ mode, seeing words on the page rather than hearing them in our head, our style changes.

Generally, sentences get longer. We slip in more subordinate clauses. We worry about repeating a word, so we start looking for synonyms - and before you know it a simple fire has turned into a blaze, and the blaze has turned in to a conflagration, and the conflagration has become an inferno.

The other thing we do in writing mode is inflate our words. When we write we reach for some of those words off the top shelf that we seldom use in conversation (like conflagration).

Before you know it we are writing:

‘High‐quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process’

when we really mean something like:

‘Kids need good schools if they are to thrive’

Our TalkitOut™ technique is about talking the words on to the page. Speaking them out loud before you write them out. It’s you rehearsing a conversation with the audience, rather than writing an essay. You are more relaxed, because the words slip easily from your tongue, and the audience is happy because the message slips naturally into their ears.