Public Speaking Tip #28 The Ear not the Eye

Writing for the ear is vastly different to writing for the eye. Keep this in mind when writing a speech.

As a young journalist an old news editor of mine once said remember radio news isn’t like reading from a news paper. If you misunderstand a paper story you can re-read the section until you understand it. Not so with the broadcast media – mishear a story and it’s lost forever.

Same with public speaking – so to my point, write for the ear not the eye. While I’m against public speakers reading out their talk there are times when reading a prepared speech is necessary.

So as you prepare your script, when you’re writing it read it out aloud progressively to hear how it sounds. A piece of writing which appears perfect when you read it in your head can sound awkward, stilted clumsy when read out aloud. The written word is always more formal than the spoken word.

While spoken language uses tone and pitch to improve understanding the written language is limited to layout and punctuation.
With the exception of formal speeches, spoken language tends to be more impromptu.

Because of that a written speech will usually be more restrictive and fail to have cut through with the audience – a written speech can appear like an invisible barrier stoping your message getting through.

Public speaking should be more conversational, even though, in the main it’s a one way conversation .

If you’re relying on reading your speech there’s no room for spontaneity, lose your place in your script and lookout.

Speaking from dot points and largely adlibbing you can take in how your audience is reacting to what you say and you can respond accordingly. Then move on to your next point.

When delivering your speech you need to use short sentences and in the main,short punchy words.
When you write an article, our language contains much more details, whereas speeches tend to have the main ideas presented in a powerful and compelling way.

It all goes to demonstrate why a speech or talk should never been seen as just standing up and reading out a written document.

If your going to just read a Pre written script why not just email it out the day before, you’ll save your audience a lot of trouble.