Podium helps Toastmasters celebrate anniversary

Congratulations to the members of the Sears-Halifax Toastmasters’ Club, who celebrated their 55th anniversary at the weekend.

Podium’s Neil Everton was honoured to be keynote speaker, talking about how the TalkitOut™ Technique creates better speakers. He talked about the importance of speaking the script out loud, before you write it out. Here’s part of his speech:

Why does this make such a difference? Well for one thing the language changes when the words come out of the mouth before they come out of the fingers.

We all work from a couple of vocabularies. There’s the one we use in conversation. Our stripped down vocabulary. Smaller words. Simpler words.

Winston Churchill – who knew a thing or two about speaking – used to say that short, old, words were the best words.

He knew plenty of big words: try reading his History of the English Speaking Peoples. But when the words had to work hard, and work fast, he used the old, small words. In those famous wartime rallying speeches – like the speech where he said: ‘We shall fight in the fields, and the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender’ – in those speeches, something like 80 per cent of the words are words of one syllable.

Yet sometimes, when we have to make an important presentation, we don’t quite trust the little words. What do we do? We summon up a few extra syllables.

It’s like when we write. When we write we tend to draw on a much broader vocabulary. Bigger words, more syllables, some unusual words, some unexpected words. And we tend to build them into more elaborate sentences

When we are in conversation, we tend to use shorter sentences. Sometimes we don’t even bother with sentences. We express ourselves in fragments. We rely on tone and body language to do some of the heavy lifting.

When we write, when we edit with our eyes rather than our ears, we sometimes create more complex structures. Longer sentences. More thoughts within thoughts – subordinate clauses.

When we edit with our eyes, we create scripts to be consumed through the eyes.

When we edit with our ears, we create scripts to be consumed through the ears.

If an audience asks us to speak to them, we do a disservice if we offer for the ears something that was meant to be read by the eyes.

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