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Why Do Writing And Speaking Matter In Business And Business Networking?

Recently, while sharing stories with a ‘Learn How to Speak’ group that I mentor, the question came up, ‘Why do writing and speaking matter in business and business networking?’

I didn’t quite understand the question, so I asked them to be more specific. They had all come to the conclusion that although we were a speakers group and we were there to build our confidence through public speaking, I had spent quite a bit of time relating what we were doing to writing presentations and articles and then back again to speaking.

It was a great question and it was a question I had to find the answer to, as I was unable to give them any real clarity during the meeting.

As I thought about my own journey as a speaker, I realised that although I was a poor writer at the time (some might say that hasn’t changed), I had the need to write. No matter what I talked about.

Let me explain…

English is my third language, first and second being Czech and Ukrainian. When I started school, learning to speak the language to become understood was an obvious priority. As my verbal skills improved I learned to love the English language, although my written attempts were less than satisfactory.

When I was in middle school, I had an amazing English teacher. A rather irascible Scotsman by the name of Norman McLeish. To this day, I haven’t found anyone to match his passion for the English language, and yes, I openly blame him for starting me on my journey as a professional speaker.

Norman saw a skinny, shy kid who had an ability (although I didn’t see it at the time), with the spoken English language and put me in the school debating team.

In short order, I became the last speaker of our team, and we were frequently on the negative side of an argument, so I was often called to be the last speaker on the night. I found that I had to start writing, taking notes of the ideas and arguments of the other speakers so that I could order my thoughts and arguments to deliver our teams ‘coup de grace’, as it were.

It actually took me many years to realise the importance of writing, and how it related to speaking.

For years, I struggled with writing, and still do at times, because even though by senior high school, I could write quite well. I had to work hard at getting it right, where, when I spoke to a topic, it flowed easily and effortlessly. I really didn’t get it… not until recently (I know I’m a slow learner)!

If you want to become an exceptional speaker, you need to be able to write down what you want to say. This doesn’t mean that you speak what you have written down verbatim, in fact, this is a very bad idea… many speakers do this to their detriment.

What it does mean is that by writing your speech down, you can focus on what you want to say, why you want to say it, to who you are addressing the speech to and how you want to deliver it. You are able to create a clear, concise message that stays on track and delivers your intended result, whatever that may be.

When you write what you want to say, you will find out like I did, that you will have little choice but to keep things clear and concise, and it helps you see when you go off track and cuts down the waffle.

It also helps you order your thoughts, and often you will find you have material for more than one speech.

The best advice I can give to any speaker is:

Tell them what you are going to tell them

(Your introduction to the topic, which is different to the introduction that is used to introduce you and your presentation).

Tell them

(depending on the length of your presentation. My recommendations are:

One point = 1 to 5 minutes

Two points = 10 minutes

Three points = 20 to 30 minutes

and all points need to be congruent with each other and flow together. Please DO NOT change the subject with each point change, because once you have lost your audience, you won’t get them back again)

Tell them what you told them

(Wrap up your presentation with a concise summary. This is where writing it down has real power. ALWAYS have a call to action, ie. Go to my website/blog from more information; call me; purchase this e-book/book or CD/DVD.

Remember: writing = clarity, clarity = an awesome presentation.

Good speaking, everyone (and good writing as well).

Thanks for reading,

Leo Petrik


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