communicating oral thoughts & ideas – the dilemma you face

You turn and face your audience;
you glance out over the sea of upturned faces fresh with anticipation;
You’re distracted…;
It makes sense to you, will you be able to make it make sense to them?
Doubt plays with the edge of your notes; Notes that [now] lie faceless – in your hands.

In a split second the scene unfolding in front of you has changed. A gaping chasm begins to emerge between what you know and what you’re saying.

It’s surreal; you have become the audience to the voice now echoing loudly in your ears; what you are hearing doesn’t sound right and it’s too late to begin again.

What’s happened – time and time again when you read it back it made perfect sense – has something changed? It has and it hasn’t.

As you stand there looking out over your audience you come face to face with a new reality. Are you literally trying to communicate thoughts and ideas which now have no face value or meaning orally?

Is something missing; have you lost something?

If you work back from here, to the point where you first thought of the ideas you wanted to communicate, what did you do with them? Did you write them down – we all do that.

Do you still have the piece of paper you used to develop the thoughts you wanted to communicate live and orally to your audience? Is that what you’ve lost, the notes of what you wanted to say carefully scribed?

You haven’t lost it, that’s what you are looking at now, clutched in your hands, as you stand there facing your audience.

What you have lost, in your journey to create a powerful public speaking moment, is the original idea that you heard before you wrote it down.

What you know is in an oral form – we hear thoughts and ideas, they are sound based; what you are trying to communicate orally to your audience now are words, visible marks1 on a page, not your original thoughts and ideas.

© 2014 Pamela Neil all rights reserved. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela Neil with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  1. Walter J Ong, Orality and Literacy, Routledge, 2005.

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