A New Perspective on Writing a Speech
Recently I visited the Dunes National Park. It’s located near the southern California and Arizona border. There are a seemingly endless series of dunes that stretch for miles. I didn’t expect that it would give me a new perspective on writing a speech.
This was my third visit to the Dunes. I had a different perspective on this trip. Standing at the foot of the highest dune, I told my son, Brenden, “That’s the one. We need to climb to the top of that one. It’ll give us the best view.” He agreed.
Dunes are actually a series of “mini-dunes” and dips. You climb to the top of one, then you have several choices about how to get to the next. Once you choose that path, you have to walk down a small dip to the foot of the next dune. Repeat this process until you reach the top.
Due to constant winds, the shape and size of the dunes changes daily. Climbing them is a different experience each time. Even in the late winter, you get warm, and winded.
How Do You Get to the Top?
There are different methods of climbing up a hill of sand
One foot in front of the other, like everyday walking. Your feet tend to sink several inches into the sand with this style
What Brenden calls ‘Duck style’ – toes pointed outward. Your feet sink less, but this feels awkward on the knees
‘Crab style’ – walk on your hands and feet. Believe it or not, this was the quickest way. Unfortunately, my 54-year old back didn’t like that one for too long
Reaching the top is exhilarating. You can see for miles, across the US-Mexican border. The mountains in the background are beautiful, it’s a peaceful experience.
What does this have to do with writing a speech?
Climbing the Dunes can be a metaphor for success in life, but let’s focus on speaking. Creating a memorable presentation is an up-and-down process. When creating your speech, start with your end goal in mind – the peak of the Dune, if you will.
There are many routes you can take to get to that end result. Which is the best?
You won’t know til you begin the trek:
1. You write the speech, and feel pretty good. (UP)
2. You rehearse and discover some parts don’t sound as good to the ear as they look on paper (DOWN)
3. You correct those parts and it sounds better (UP)
4. You practice before an audience. You receive feedback on what works and what needs improvement (UP and DOWN)
5. You make changes (UP)
6. Repeat this process until you give the final version to your audience.
Your Speech Gets Better With Each Peak Your Reach
Each time you repeat this process, you’ll start from a higher point than your first attempt. It’s like continuing your assault to the top of the highest dune. Each peak of the mini-dunes, is a higher starrting point than the ones that preceded it.
So, how can a sand dune improve your speech?
It serves as a reminder that your trek to create an impactful presentation won’t be a “straight line to the top.”
That’s part of the fun. Keep taking one step after another, up and down. You’ll create a message that resonates with others.
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