“A good window does not call attention to itself. It merely lets in the light. Good speakers are like that. They are so natural that their hearers never notice their manner of speaking; they are conscious only of the message.” ~ from Public Speaking for Success, p.153.
So be a “window” this year and stay intentional about not “blocking the view.” Let’s not get in the way of our own message.
Here’s what we know…
The speaker’s delivery should never draw attention to itself. Nothing the speaker does vocally or physically should interrupt the communication process. The following specifics will help us minimize our manner and instead magnify our message:
- Never refer to parts of a speech in the speech. For example, referencing parts of an outline (i.e., “my thesis,” “for my first point,” “in conclusion.”) interrupts good communication. Instead, use creative language and rhetoric to help your audience track your thinking rather than cloud your message by identifying components of the speech itself. Then you will be more window-like.
- Do not merely think of your speech in terms of its needed components as a forensics event (i.e., “I don’t have enough blocking,” “I need more accents,” “I have to have three points”). Of course, I ultimately always encourage students to address and include these elements, but we must not put the cart before the horse. Your story or message must define these fundamentals, not the other way around. For example, find a story worth telling and discover the characters and blocking imbedded in the tale. Simply adding superfluous machinations will be a distraction and get in the way of your message or moral.
- Ask people you trust to evaluate your speech either as a “blind judge” or a “deaf judge.” This will help you refine your actual delivery so that nothing about your voice or body will deter your listeners.
So, get out of the way and be a window this year. Your message and audience can then connect more easily and we will see what you want to tell us.
Here’s to looking right through you…