Tag Archives: public-speaking

Maybe speechwriting doesn’t matter so much after all..?

You’ve probably heard speeches you’d swear were content-free. Here’s one that actually is — and it’s a TEDx talk.

Beneath that hollow exterior lurks actual content: a pretty devastating critique of how a thin speech can inflate its apparent substance using the TEDx style. Maybe if Will Stephen’s performance reaches a wide enough audience (and at 2.5 million views so far, it’s well on its way), Taking Off Your Glasses won’t be such a killer move any more.

(via Mitch Joel)

Capturing a speaker’s voice matters

This post argues that speechwriters shouldn’t worry about capturing a speaker’s voice. Structure the speech well, Mike Long argues, and it’ll all come out in the wash.

And while I understand that all the tailored turns of phrase in the world can’t save a bad speech, or turn a mediocre speaker into a great one, I can’t agree with Mike’s premise. (Not that I don’t want to; I want to agree with anyone who has Steely Dan lyrics in their Twitter bio. Maybe next time.)

Here’s what I said in response; I’d love to know what you think.

I get what you’re saying, Michael — and I heartily agree you should get the fundamentals right before you even begin to think about voice. And it’s amazing how often a speaker will say you’ve “captured their voice” just by writing in a conversational tone.

But you can definitely make a speaker feel more at home with speaking notes that reflect their vocal patterns and preferred word choices. It isn’t all delivery. Some speakers are far more at home with bold, declarative statements than others. They express emotion in different ways. They use idioms that reflect their age, gender, race, culture, social class, life experience… and it’ll all be different.

And if your speaker lacks confidence, experience or time to revise? The more comfortable they feel with your text from the start, the better.

So yes, get the fundamentals right. But once they’re nailed, time spent reflecting your speaker’s authentic voice will be well worth it.

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 11: Maddie Grant

Maddie Grant of DC-based SocialFish has done a lot of thinking about connecting online audiences with speeches, panels and presentations. More to the point, she’s done a lot of doing, including convening one of the most ambitious online conference approaches I’ve seen: NTC Online, the digital version of the Nonprofit Technology Conference held every year by NTEN.

In our conversation, she offers some great advice for event organizers, speakers and anyone who wants to use digital tools to help online and offline audiences learn. And after you’ve heard our conversation, check out these links:

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 11: Maddie Grant

Maddie Grant of DC-based SocialFish has done a lot of thinking about connecting online audiences with speeches, panels and presentations. More to the point, she’s done a lot of doing, including convening one of the most ambitious online conference approaches I’ve seen: NTC Online, the digital version of the Nonprofit Technology Conference held every year by NTEN.

In our conversation, she offers some great advice for event organizers, speakers and anyone who wants to use digital tools to help online and offline audiences learn. And after you’ve heard our conversation, check out these links:

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 10: Holly Ross

This episode features Holly Ross from NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network. She’s a great speaker in her own right – and every year, NTEN hosts the Nonprofit Technology Conference. It’s a huge gathering (but remarkably relaxed and collegial), and we talk about what it takes to connect that many people online at a conference – and how speakers can make the most of a connected audience.

Some links and resources:

 

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 10: Holly Ross

This episode features Holly Ross from NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network. She’s a great speaker in her own right – and every year, NTEN hosts the Nonprofit Technology Conference. It’s a huge gathering (but remarkably relaxed and collegial), and we talk about what it takes to connect that many people online at a conference – and how speakers can make the most of a connected audience.

Some links and resources:

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 8: Nancy Duarte

It’s hard to say just where Nancy Duarte has had the biggest impact: as the architect of Al Gore‘s presentation on climate change in An Inconvenient Truth

…as the author of two profoundly powerful books on crafting and delivering presentations, slide:ology and Resonate

…as the co-creator of Duarte Design, a firm that has been redefining the art and science of presentations for nearly a quarter-century…

…or as a pioneer in integrating social media and public speaking around the central driving idea of story.

Our conversation lasts less than 10 minutes, but Nancy packs a lot of insight into

  • how the backchannel changes the balance of power between speaker and audience
  • how speeches can take on a life of their own as social objects
  • how even harsh criticism can make you a better speaker
  • and how dramatic tension and release can lend your next speech the power and impact your ideas have been waiting for.

Listen in – and then explore more deeply:

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 8: Nancy Duarte

It’s hard to say just where Nancy Duarte has had the biggest impact: as the architect of Al Gore‘s presentation on climate change in An Inconvenient Truth as the author of two profoundly powerful books on crafting and delivering presentations, slide:ology and Resonate

…as the co-creator of Duarte Design, a firm that has been redefining the art and science of presentations for nearly a quarter-century…

…or as a pioneer in integrating social media and public speaking around the central driving idea of story.

Our conversation lasts less than 10 minutes, but Nancy packs a lot of insight into

  • how the backchannel changes the balance of power between speaker and audience
  • how speeches can take on a life of their own as social objects
  • how even harsh criticism can make you a better speaker
  • and how dramatic tension and release can lend your next speech the power and impact your ideas have been waiting for.

Listen in – and then explore more deeply: