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Don’t Read To Us: Talk To Us With Passion!

In the Church of Scotland, a church leader gave the following feedback to a young minster on his first sermon. “In the first place you read it.  In the second place, you didna read it well.  In the third place if you hadda read it well, it wouldn’t have been worth hearing!”  I’ve always thought that the sermon wasn’t worth hearing because he read it and didn’t read it well!

Don't read to us; talk to us -  We like people who are talking to us: not reading or PRESENTING!  I heard a radio host talking about his first radio announcer coach who said, “Don’t announce; talk!”  My advice to you is, “Don’t present; talk!”  Here are some don’ts.

Don’t write out your speech word for word. - Start with key ideas and thoughts.- not a word-for-word document.  Use bullet points or key words, and practice and rehearse using these “triggers” or reminders.

Don’t Memorize.  Unless you are an actor!  Actors have no control or input into their scripts.  So they memorize the words they are given and then “inhabit” the role.  If they do this well, they do not sound like they are reading or even acting. The biggest danger of memorizing is that if you “lose” your place or even one word…you can have great difficulty getting back on “track”.

Don’t use the word Track!  I am changing the word TRACK to PATH!  How much flexibility does a train have on its track?  None!  So think that you are on a path…with some flexibility as you proceed - not needing to remain perfectly like being on a track - having the exact words at the exact moment.  So start with a beginning thought - a grabber or headline - some key ideas - and a final statement to close. All this like being on a path as you head toward your goal.

Don’t Try To Be Perfect!  The desire to be perfect can be the enemy of  connecting with the audience. As you prepare and deliver a speech or presentation, remember the words of Beethoven.  “To play a wrong note is insignificant, but to play without passion is unforgivable.” So the bottom line is!

Passion Beats Perfection! 

Mike Jousan

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