Ever been so sure of something only to have started to tell someone else and find yourself speaking gobbledegook?
Ever thought you knew something back to front and sideways only to find you can’t make someone else understand?
Ever struggled to put across something important to you and wonder why?
Speaking up for our ideas, our beliefs and to share what we think and understand, is not easy. Not everyone (in fact hardly anyone) is born with that natural eloquence, that ability to articulate clearly and crisply. Translating those feelings and that knowledge and the experiences we have into words, sentences, paragraphs and speeches that people can understand, connect with and recall later is not, for most, a natural born talent.
Here are some practices that can help achieve that elegance, that impact, that influence:
- Books, novels, magazines, industry publications, poetry, stories, science….read to spark off ideas, to find ways of explaining and sharing, to be inspired, to add to what you know, feel and experience. Read for language, for words, for phrases, for analogies and metaphors and sheer skill of linking words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs into meaning.
- Listen. To people talking, to people explaining, to videos, Youtube, people singing. To people you agree with and feel affinity for. To people you disagree with. To people who know the familiar and people who have different experiences and context to your own. Listen for perspective and context. Listen for phrasing, musicality and language. Listen for ways to explain and share and inspire and motivate.
- Be Curious. Be curious about the why, the what, the where, the when and the who. Especially the why. Be curious rather than judgmental. For when we are judgmental our world closes in and we have less flexibility of response or perspective. When we are curious we are willing to ask more questions, see things from other angles, listen and add to our own experiences and insights.
- Watch what people do and how they do it. Watch faces and eyes, watch bodies moving and shifting and straining to get the message and the meaning out there. Watch responses and reactions. Watch so you can see how we communicate with more than our words and how we can add impact and decrease impact by the way we say things as well as what we say.
When there is something to say and it is important to say it, then it is a craft and a skill to be able to put into words those things that can ultimately influence and impact on others who choose to listen.
What do you believe? Is it a craft to be learned or a skill some people are born with?
Stand up. Speak up. Stand out.
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