Manage episode 344751187 series 2553835
The content was really great and the way the words were put together was quite clever. The speech was a dud. It failed miserably because it was a written speech, read to us. He could have emailed it to all of us and we could have read it for ourselves.
The next speaker just spoke. He wasn’t such a fluent talker, sometimes stumbling over some of his words, occasionally stuttering, but he had everyone’s attention because he was authentic. He wasn’t reading to us, he was looking at us and connecting with us.
The issue here is how should we reproduce the content we have designed. Do we have to remember it exactly, memorise it so we can be faithful to our speech design and message? Speakers get very hung up on their content. They feel that they have to deliver the perfect coalition of words to get their message across.
Our first speaker couldn’t memorise his speech because it was too long.
If it is a very short speech, you can try and memorise it, but these are usually very special occasions. Japan is a very formal country, so if you are asked to speak at a friend or subordinate’s wedding here, then there are established protocols and sentences you must use in Japanese. If you greet the Emperor of Japan, then there are set things you must say in Japanese, the specific content will depend on the occasion. Mick Jagger told me not to drop names, but I have done both and I did memorise the content. These were short pieces, so I could can manage them without getting myself into trouble.
Please don’t read it to us either, if you can avoid it. If it is a highly technical speech, something with gargantuan legal implications if you get it wrong, a life or death statement to the media or on behalf of your absent big boss, then you may have no choice. If so, then please use as much eye contact with your audience as possible.
You can read the words and add in gestures, to emphasis the message. You can stand straight and tall and project confidence, reliability, credibility and trust rather than hunching down over the microphone stand. You can have pauses, to allow the audience to digest the key points. You can hit key words for emphasis and can use voice modulation to bring the text alive.
You don’t have to memorise your talk or read it to us or read the slides to us. You can have speaking points and talk to those points. For the vast majority of speeches, a conversational tone of talking to key points will work extremely well. If it is severely formal and you have either memorise it or read it, well go ahead. However if you don’t have that type of caveat, then look at us, talk to us and engage with us. We will forgive any sins of grammar, pronunciation or lack of speaking fluency in the delivery.
We will connect with you and we will receive your message and we will regard you highly as an authentic person who spoke from their heart. And we will remember you in a positive vein.