How Can a 6000 Year-Old Chinese Philosophy Improve Your Speech?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy. It can serve as a terrific metaphor for creating an impactful speech. Feng Shui is a practice that promotes harmony between people and their physical environment.
I’ve incorporated a couple of it’s concepts into my work environment. The results have made me more productive.
Speech Lesson From My Client
One of my coaching clients, Tandy Pryor, is a Feng Shui practitioner. Her suggestions inspired me to rearrange my office and purge unnecessary items. I now feel better when I walk in to the room because there is less clutter. There is more open space and I feel more comfortable. Guests feel the same way.
It recently occurred to me that creating a speech is a lot like developing the optimal work space
Organize your talk and remove the ‘clutter.’ You’ll create a more meaningful and memorable experience for your “guests” – the audience.
How Do You ‘Feng Shui’ Your Speech?
You can use the Feng Shui approach to improving your speech once you’ve completed the first three steps of speech creation:
- Determine your walkaway message – the idea that will stick with the audience. This will spur them to think, feel or act differently.
- Write out your first version. This includes every idea. Remember the words of my coach, Craig Valentine: “A message is a mess, with age.” The first version is your ‘messy step.’
- Put your ideas in a logical order. Organizing your supporting points, your opening and conclusion and then your transitions will give a natural flow to the talk.
You’re now ready to ‘Feng Shui’ your speech.
Go test it.
Give the speech.
Record each speech and listen/watch to the recordings.
Ask your evaluators to give you ideas on how to streamline and simplify each part. As you review the recordings and the feedback, ask yourself, “How can I make this leaner? How can I say this in fewer words?”
A Process That’s Simple, But Not Easy
This is not easy to do. It’s why you need the input of others. Typically, we’re too close to our own material and can’t easily see the parts that need to be cut out. People not emotionally involved in your speech will see it from a different perspective.
Just like making a room more efficient, you’ll need to step outside of your comfort zone and make changes. Developing speeches is an evolutionary process. As my mentor Darren LaCroix says, “Great speeches aren’t written; they’re re-written.” The process of creating a leaner and tighter speech takes time, but it’s worth the effort.
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