Writing and speaking –some interesting similarities

Author of the well-known book Nineteen Eighty Four, George Orwell, has a few interesting things to say about the art of writing. When I read them, I was struck by how much of this is also applicable to public speaking. For example he scorns that writers often simply “put down a mass of words which obscure the real meaning” (1949, pg. vi).  How often do we have to listen to speakers who do just that?

He gives a few rules for effective writing which are equally applicable for public speaking. Have a look:

“Never use a long word where a short one will do

If it is possible to cut a word out, cut it out

Never use the passive (I was knocked down by a car) where you can use the active (a car knocked me down)

Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an English equivalent”(Orwell, 1949, pg. vi).

As public speakers we are well advised to apply these rules as well –it will be easier to listen to us and, what’s more, people will enjoy listening to what we have to say.

Check out the chapter on effective language use in my book Public Speaking From Preparation to Presentation on amazon.com

Image: © Coffee 260884-1920

Are you stressed or are you centered?

Have you been in stressful situations lately? Stressful situations have the uncomfortable habit of leaving me out of balance and breathless.   And when I’m out of breath, I can’t speak nor think properly.

Not good for meeting clients or speaking well! 

Here’s an exercise to help get back your energy and breath. You can then work from a place of inner balance and control. You can do this exercise while you wait in the cue at the bank or in a shop, or when you travel, just before an important appointment, or a potentially stressful meeting … 

  • Stand or sit, feet parallel, hip bone width apart
  • Rest the feet on the floor, soles soften
  • Relax the ankles, knee and hip joints
  • Lengthen the neck and spine, let the shoulder blades drop
  • Place your hands on your navel
  • Gently, but deeply, breathe in and out
  • Do this for 1 minute


Image: © Andre Hunter 168807 unsplash

If you're into public speaking, you are probably familiar with the following study by Albert Mehrabian:

(Apparently) 55% of your presented message is communicated via your body language; 38% through the tone of your voice and only 7% of meaning through words.

Is this really the magic formula for successful public speaking?  What is the truth about this? In this blog, I will explore the relationship between the content, body language, tone of voice and facial expression. You will learn more about the impact of these factors on your credibility as a speaker.

Do you know what time of the day is your most productive time?

Studies show that, although everyone has a personal rhythm, there are numerous similarities amongst us, e.g.:

  • Generally, most people's maximum productivity is at around 10h00 in the morning.
  • After lunch, (especially after a heavy lunch), the productivity curve gets low.
  • The productivity curve increases around 16h00 and lasts till around 20h00.

What does that mean for our working day? Determine your personal efficiency curve.