In part 2 of Experiences with speech ideas we talk about the ideas to create a speech and the right frame of mind to be in….
Prior to joining TM, I had regular opportunities to speak during a stint in academia. As expected, my first speaking engagements were nerve wracking. However, like any good academic I hit the books for advice; the result was perhaps the best €2 I ever spent in a second hand bookshop! The book in question is the Penguin Writers Manual (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penguin-Writers-Manual-Reference-Books/dp/0140514899). Among its pages are useful tips for giving presentations.
My belief is that some of the rudimentary fundamentals covered within the book regards public speaking are intrinsically linked to ideas, and thus creativity.
Among these fundamentals are the following, coupled with personal experiences:
- Centre your mind on subject matter you’re enthusiastic and/or passionate about and talk about it. In other words, imagine striking up conversation with someone who holds a common interest. The principles the same when constructing a speech for 5-7 minutes, it’s always easier to talk about something you’re interested in and create a speech from it.
- Further to the above, remember your fellow TM members are interested in what you have to say by default. We want to do our best to help you develop and will not come down on you ‘like a tonne of bricks’! This also indirectly refers to ‘knowing the audience’ when giving a speech!
- My initial speeches centred on more impersonal subject matter (e.g. places I’ve been, how to be better organised at work etc.) Referring to the David Lynch quote I stayed in the shallow water to catch the little fish!
- Over time and with more confidence my subject matter is now more personal, and has started to delve deeper into the water for the bigger fish! This development worked in tandem with the skills I acquired over the course of the CC, which helped me realise that ordinary aspects of my life could be ‘spiced up’ to sound more extraordinary than they actually are, or simply do them justice through well-crafted storytelling.
- To sum up the above: More confidence and experience = less fear = more bravery and flexibility with the subject matter = greater propensity for idea creativity.
- Remember also that ideas are flexible; if you can’t substantiate a speech from an idea it might make a great table topic and/or be used as part of another speech more appropriate to the objectives.
Another important thing to note is that I work long hours (sometimes up to 60 a week). The last thing I preoccupy my precious free time with is car crash television (TV in general!), and most especially the media and the constant barrage of negativity portrayed day in day out.
I preoccupy my mind with things more meaningful and fulfilling things around the array of interests I have (sport, hillwalking, reading, architecture, blogging, Irish folklore storytelling) which leads to a clearer mind, increased focus, and a positive outlook. I have found that this leads to more creativity for speech ideas.
Talk however is cheap, so I’d like to now practice what I preach…..