In Public Speaking Words Count

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The words used in public speaking make a big difference to the effectiveness of a speech. Painting pictures with words.

Picture talk! Then minds meet minds. There is understand­ing, attention, interest!

Some words create only general pictures, but others etch vivid, concrete images. “I stood open-mouthed,” for instance, paints a picture of surprise, whereas, “I was surprised” paints nothing. Or so much the mind is cluttered.

Listeners can see a fat man waddle or wobble easier than they can see him go to the front door of his cabin.

A speaker should choose and use words that create vivid moving pictures which cause listeners to see and feel clearly
exactly what he means — words that cut, sting, stare, glare, grind, shock, slush, smother, soothe, or cuddle. Words as real as pizza
pie, soft as a maiden’s blush, or seedy as the hairy wart on grand­ pa’s weather-beaten nose.                          .

Never tell about an event, person, or thing. Show the event happening. Relive it. Picture the person as he really is. Make the thing so real listeners can see, feel, touch, taste or smell it. Create graphic colored, moving, mental pictures. And paint them red when necessary! Paint them gay and bright, blue, or as dark as midnight in a cyclone cellar, according to the mood which is suitable for the speech material.

Speaking should be clear and specific. An author, Rudyard Kipling, said his six “serving men” helped him in this respect. The servants he referred to are waiting to serve anyone. They are who, when, where, what, why, and how? When a speaker answers those questions specifically (not in any special order) in his il­lustrations, his speaking leaves the rambling weed fields of gener­alities to become as real and clear-cut as a row of Irish potatoes that has just been hoed by a careful gardener.

What words do you used when you are public speaking to an audience of one or to a larger gathering? Do you use picture talk?

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