I’ve got a couple of challenges for you, and a couple of bits and pieces for you to download and read at your leisure.
Write an outline
This challenge invites you to summarise your speech or talk in just one sentence, then one paragraph, then a bit longer.
If you do that in a Google Form, I’ll be able to read it.
You can start (and revise) the challenge here:
Improve the outline
This challenge prompts you to finesse the outlines you wrote, with particular focus on:
Storytelling. It’s not very interesting to deliver facts baldly, and pronounce assertions from on high (as I seem to have done in this sentence).
Every point you make can be translated into a story.
For instance, here’s that last sentence retold as a story: “I told the last lot who did this course that it can be very helpful to use stories, and some of them grabbed the opportunity but some of them didn’t, and their talks were worse for it.”
Naturally, I don’t mean that you should turn literally every sentence into a story – just the ones that you would like to have the greatest impact.
Your Rhetorical Enemy. This is the thing or person you are up against. It needn’t be a person. It is often an attitude.
For example, in Shakespeare’s Henry V (don’t worry if you don’t know it), there’s a big speech by the English king before going into battle against a vastly larger French army. He’s just heard one of his noblemen wish he was back home in England.
The king’s enemy on the battlefield is the French army. But the “rhetorical enemy” underlying his speech is the fear and unwillingness that seems to have overcome some of his English soldiers. That’s what he speaks so brilliantly to demolish.
Why You Care. Even the highest qualifications, right up to a Nobel Prize, don’t matter much if you don’t seem to care.
Emotional Trajectory. As discussed in a recent Zoom, the emotional trajectory of your talk or speech has a dramatic effect on its impact.
Taking your audience from happy to sad creates one outcome. Travelling from sad to happy is another thing altogether.
Make a summary of your speech listing nothing but the emotional content, whether or not it’s explicit. For instance: “Cheerful – funny – startling – challenging – reassuring – disappointed – effortful – triumphant” (or whatever).
Till next time.