I’m passionate about the art and science of communication, it’s a gift to the mankind. (You know that already, so I’m not going to bore with more details.)
Of late I’ve been noticing new groups popping up on Facebook and other social streams claiming to “revolutionize the state of public speaking.” Quite a bold thought, but quite distraction for someone who loves public speaking but thinks of it as part of what he does for a living — communicate.
I think it’s great to share ideas with people who want to grow and do well in life. However, I don’t understand why “public speaking” is the sole focus of these groups. As much as I like the idea, I can’t help but question its purpose. (Hey, in my defense — I LOVE PUBLIC SPEAKING!)
Here’s my rationale: a focus on speaking (particularly public speaking) draws attention to mastering the mechanics of the art. And for some reason, we Indians prefer to take “art” very seriously — so much so that a speech almost looks and sounds like a one-act play!
There’s a place for dramatics and amplified expressions. And if I were to watch a play, I wouldn’t be in a lecture hall but in a theater!
Here’s what these groups/factions/clubs should focus on — encourage people to communicate clearly. It’s not about how eloquently one speaks (by the way — having a fake accent is totally optional… because it sounds, eh… fake!) but what you speak. Just like it’s not about the “the color of their skin, but the content of their character.” (Thank you, MLK Jr.!)
There’s a reason why TED’s tagline reads “Ideas that Spread.” It’s not about speaking, it’s about ideas that change the world. Expressing an idea requires one to utilize all their facets of communication — visual, auditory, kinesthetic and sensory.
Merely focusing on speaking may make you the master of speech mechanics, but that’s not enough. What’s your dangerous idea? We want to know — that’s where Content comes in. Having good solid content enables one to convey ideas better.
Just like having good solid food helps you build muscle. Speech mechanics (are like health supplements and) help you to convey ideas better.
Your content matters.