Advice for Effective Communication – Don’t Give Speeches… Give Talks. Professional Journey Steps: step #14

Advice for Effective Communication – Don’t Give Speeches… Give Talks. Professional Journey Steps: step #14

Talks not speeches

It ranks as one of our most feared things to do; public speaking, presenting or simply communicating with our colleagues in a group or even one on one, yet to communicate well in all its forms is a critical and essential skill to master. But what if we simply participated in talks? Everyone is pretty comfortable with that are’t they?

Communication is far more complex an activity than most of us ever give consideration, there are many component elements and literally tens of thousands of tips, pointers, guides, … on how to do it well – We’ve just finished writing yet another one as a key skill development module ourselves (of course it is brilliant but that’s for another time) – however today we merely want to share something simple which we have found exceptionally useful in getting a high degree of understanding, appreciation, receipt and acceptance for a message not to mention perhaps allow you to be a little more relaxed in the activity. We’re hopeful you’ll get some value from the offering.

Give Talks Not Speeches

Whether we’re addressing the masses (more than three) or speaking to one individual, We’ve found this to be sound advice. The word speech has become an idiom and widely accepted BUT in most people it stirs up a connotation of stiff, formal, cold, pontificating, being talked at rather than to. Whereas, a talk is relaxed, informal and personal – which do you think would be more effective in the positive receipt of a message?

W’d love to take credit for coming up with this idea but We can’t. We discovered it from an interview we read with one of Bill Clinton’s ‘speech’ writers. He said, Bill doesn’t allow us to call them speeches; he demands we call them ‘talks’. Now regardless of if you are a Bill Clinton fan or not most would have to agree he is a great communicator!

The B.C. Factor

This of itself may not have resonated with me so much except for some related background information. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Bill in person however I do know and have spoken with a number of people who have. Their own personal ‘Bill experiences’ ranged from 10 seconds to 15 minutes and were at large populous functions or other public settings – they all have a very interesting commonality. When asked about the encounter each and every one of them said basically the same thing – note they do not know each other and I posed the questions to them over a period of several years. They ALL said, ‘it was like I was the only person in the room, like he was speaking directly and only with me. This to my mind is total engagement and a true skill not just charisma.

Talks are Personal & Emotional

What we find is, this singular engagement, personal relativity is also the key to extraordinary presentations to groups. Think of Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ or JFK’s ‘… ask not what your country can do for you…’ and even Steve Jobs original iPhone launch or Stanford commencement. All classed as ‘speeches’ and some of the best ever but at closer look they are really ‘Talks’. Each person hearing them felt a personal, even emotional connection to them.

Talks are still structured, relevant, planned and possess all the elements recommended for a successful ‘speech’ or presentation but with a slight difference; they tend to be more engaging, personal, passionate and poignant. The point being, just by changing the name we call it can change the way we think about it and deliver it and ultimately the way it is received.

Our MSB Max Professional Journey Step tip for this edition is simply:

Next time you have to address your colleagues, give talks rather than speeches.

As always your feedback, input, feelings / thoughts are welcome.

Enjoy your journey