Friday, 23 August 2013

Words Words Words. Say what you mean

Hi All,
Although the words by themselves do not carry more than 10% of your message, they are very important. That's because the way you say them and what you do with your body make up 100% of your speech.

Today I am going to share some great tips about what words to use for any speech.

The main thing is to keep those words short, sharp and simple. The easier they are to pronounce, the easier it is for you to say and the easier it is for your audience to understand. When you try to impress them with big words, some of the audience will chase those words and are likely to miss what you say next. Others in the audience will start to turn off and assume the speech is not for them. So, keep them simple. Let me give you an example. The word "demise" is a very good word. It means the death of or the downfall of.It is not as well known as the simpler words. A young boy in Grade 5 used it. He knew what it meant, but the class did not. The point was lost and the class did not get his meaning.

You need to use some logical words and some emotional words. When you use words like," It follows." Or words like, "This is just common sense," that is being logical. When you say ,"It make me sad." Or "I am delighted about," the audience will feel that emotion (Only if your voice and body shows the emotion too).

One of the best things to do when speaking is to create images in your audience's heads. This is achieved by using adjectives, describing words or images. When you tell a story, you need to make it come alive. Don;t just say, "The man fell over." instead say, The old man staggered down the street, grabbed hold of the rail and crashed to the floor." Can you see how much more detailed and descriptive that is? Likewise, using both sound and sight adds to the picture as does sound effects.

This brings me to poetic techniques. By this I mean that at times, rhyme, rhythm, metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, repetition and alliteration all help your audience to feel and see what you are saying. A rhyme, especially at the end will make the speech memorable. It can be a quote and even from someone else's words, but ending with a rhyme is a great idea. The rhythm of the words can be achieved when you know the emphasis of certain words and is enjoyable for the brain.
Metaphors are especially great. Like adjectives, they create pictures in the minds of the listeners.Try not to use clich├ęs as these are not creative. You can use nouns as metaphors and also verbs. An example would be "Let's zoom through these ideas." Similes are not as powerful as metaphors because the word just resembles the compared word. However, they can also create those important pictures that connect you and the audience. The next one is just fun. Another word for onomatopoeia  is sound effects. These can be animal sounds, words for wind and movement and even snapping your fingers and stamping. Used in the right place at the right time these sounds can create an amazing effect on the audience.
In writing repetition can be boring and melo-dramatic. In speaking repetition can be very powerful. You need to choose which words you want to repeat and what emphasis you wish to place on them. It can be very powerful, very powerful! Another form of repetition is reversal as in the famous JFK sppech:"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Alliteration or the repetition of the same letter(s) at the beginning of the words or in the middle or even at the end, makes a speech zing! The "boys bring bases home" is as interesting as "Nation, creation, station". The repetition of vowels (known as assonance) is just as effective. My favourite example of alliteration, metaphor and short, sharp words is the famous speech by Churchill: "I have nothing to offer you but my blood, toil, tears and sweat.  

Finally, get rid of all fillers. These include: "Um", "err', "basically", "sort of", "actually", "you know", "like", "anyway", "like I said before", "okay" "yeah" and "and so on". They are all a waste of breath and time and jsu fill the speech with noise. Take a breath and enjoy the silence. The audience will too.

Next time you speak, keep it simple and say what you mean.


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