Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Public Speaking Isn't Talking to Yourself

Yesterday I wrote about my recent visit to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. As I looked around in this amazing setting, I realized something: I had no one to talk to. With Kristi back home and no one I knew in sight, I suddenly had all these words to share about what I was seeing and doing, and no one to share them with. It was beyond frustrating.

While there are those who are wired to be alone and don't require sharing their experiences, I think most of us do have a basic need to experience something with others. Sharing beauty, awe, humor, or even fear and danger goes back to the beginning of time. Public speaking really has its roots in those cavemen getting together to review the days hunt, who caught the biggest saber-tooth, and who was eaten by one.

When you are out on your own, even if your goal is to meditate and sojourn in solitary with the world, bring a notebook, an audio recorder, or even a FlipCam. Record your thoughts and how you might share them when you return home. You can risk taking mental notes - but depending on how long it takes you to start recording your ideas in your story file or on your blog - that risk can leave an idea floating in the wind.

Talking to yourself has its value. But when you're a speaker - keep your ears open and your keypad open. You never know when the words you say to yourself are the same words your next audience needs to experience as well.


  1. Samuel Beckett's play Not I is all about the need for a response/audience for what we say. It's a fun absurdist play, if you ever have the chance to read it.

  2. Good advice, Rich.

    I always have my digital recorder with me.

    Thanks for the Post!

  3. I've seen a lot of talk about the power and importance of story telling in communications and public speaking. I don't think anyone realizes how far back the idea of "story telling" goes. Without, as you said, awe, humor, shock, and other human emotions our presentations fall flat because our audience can't identify. This is my first time reading your blog, Rich, but you can expect to see more of me. Great stuff :)

  4. Great to hear from you Maranda, RDOwens, and StLouisMillers - if you all have thoughts for future blogs, let me know!



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