Today’s Wednesday Word is a word of advice.
If you have to deliver a speech or a presentation–no matter how big or small–please know what you’re going to say. Don’t wing it.
Or you may end up like Governor John Kasich of Ohio–a smart man who nevertheless decided that the best way to announce his presidential run would be to opt against a prepared text, and instead speak more or less “off the cuff” for 43 minutes.
That is not a practice to emulate.
I understand the impulse to “ditch the script.” People in the spotlight–particularly politicians–seem so scripted. Even “Reality TV” follows a script. Audiences hunger for genuine people who will speak truthfully from the heart, and speakers want to be able to deliver.
But use of a prepared speech isn’t a signal to the audience that the speaker is fake and insincere. The prepared speech is a guide for the speaker, and to the speaker’s audience as well.
A prepared speech is like road directions: it tells you where you need to go without veering off on every side road that may look interesting. Similarly, a prepared speech helps you make the points you want to make, while making sure the audience can follow the ideas you wish to express. Simply going off the cuff in order to seem more authentic is not only a less than ideal way persuade or inform an audience, but also itself can be seen as a ploy.
So when you have to deliver a speech or presentation, know what you’re going to do. “Going with your gut” is neither a game plan nor a genuine way to connect with your audience. Plan and practice what you will say.
Don’t wing it.
And that’s your Wednesday Word.