The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional by Philip Yaffe


The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional

Author Philip Yaffe

Part Two: Oral Presentation

Getting readers and listeners a reason to hear your words and read them is your primary goal. Organizing your information in order to generate either the interest of your readers or listeners requires skill, the proper techniques and a lot of work. Whether you are writing a novel, a speech, new article or presenting your dissertation or any type of presentation your information must be clear, concise and incorporate the two elements of density- precise information and logically linked. These are the elements that are the same.

Remember that no one wants to read what you have written. This is the writer’s attitude and your goal is to assume that the reader’s interest when presenting information that instructs or informs is not as great as when reading a novel, short story or a play. No one wants to hear what you have to say when presenting the same type of expository information. Listeners come to hear a speaker and want to learn from that person and will be attentive at first. The fundamentals of writing also apply to speaking. You need to emphasize the key elements and deemphasize what is less relevant. Eliminating what is of no importance takes practice and skill. Being concise is vital in both writing and speaking. Giving an oral presentation you need to remember that you have a limited amount of time to grab your listener’s attention, keep them focused, and present in a clear and concise manner. Remember: Never eliminate anything of key importance and reduce things of less importance. Keep your speech or writing as short as possible making your writing or presentation: Clear, Concise and to the point.

A great speaker will have a lot of enthusiasm when presenting. Listeners will not respond to you if you show no emotion or strong feelings for your subject or what you are presenting. You need to gain the confidence of the listeners, and present your information in a precise manner in order to control the minds of your audience.

Readers can reread and digest the information and come back to it and formulate their views. Listeners get a one time shot at hearing what you are saying and if not interested will tune you out and lose interest.

Having presented many times in front different audiences I understand how group of people might not stay focused on what you are saying. After reading the various tips before my radio show yesterday I was able to refine my opening and closing and create a format that was concise, precise and logically linked. Read pages 88-94 to learn how to get the listener’s attention and use effective body language. I have never used slides or visual aids when presenting information about my books or at a book signing. However, the author does explain how to use slides and other visual aides effectively.

When giving a speech it is possible to lose you train of thought or possibly state your information using an incorrect word or phrase. I find that if I practice my speeches or presentation in front of a mirror, or even taping it I can see if the information is clear, concise and logically linked before I face an audience. If I don’t understand or want to hear what I am saying, no one will want to listen. Pausing in the right spots and at the right time is not easy. Do not as many people do use the words: A, Um or You know. If you pause and are looking critically for the right word or words you appear smart, intelligent and precise. When reading an excerpt from one of my books to children at my book signings, I often pause for dramatic effect to help their interest and not give away the plot. Pausing also allows you audience a chance to keep up with you and absorb what are saying.

I do agree with the author that begins dependent on notes will detract from your presentation. I rarely use notes but might have key points on an index card to help me stay focused. I often present with nothing in my hands and just to engage the audience without the use of visual aides, slides or papers in my hands. But, having the cards does help. A strong point made by the author is that listeners lose interest and giving periodic summaries at the right time during your presentation will help refocus them on your key points. Memorize your introduction and your conclusion. Know what you are going to say. Your conclusion should include a brief summary of your presentation and convey a single idea that you want your listeners to remember.

There are many appendices at the end of this book, which summarize and focus on each of the elements of both expository writing and professional speaking. The author provides an opportunity for the reader to have hands on experiences using the techniques and tips he presented in his book.  I am working on my fourth children’s book. Reading Appendix D, how to excite reader interest is one that I am working on. Doing the exercises understanding how to better present my story and information in my second Alzheimer’s book will help me reduce what is not important and keep what is relevant. Appendix C and Appendix D that focus on the 5 W’s, followed by the one area I know that I really need help with Appendix E using the right tense when writing. I intend to read all of the appendices and do all of the exercises as I think everyone who wants to become a better public speaker, writer, journalist, secretary or presenter should do.

I really loved this book and although it might not a traditional plot including some interesting characters, I found that it grabbed my attention with its own special plot of how to write in a clear, concise and precise manner and understanding how to present in front of an audience. I am going to use the tip and techniques as a guide when I do my next radio show in April.

Where was this great book when I was in college taking English and writing term papers. I am definitely going to use this book as a guide and resource when writing my book reviews and next children’s book to help me write a better review that is precise, clear and as long as necessary and short at possible.

Thank you for giving me the honor of reading and commenting on this great book.

Fran Lewis

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The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional Part One


The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking Like a Professional

Comments by Fran Lewis

Author: Philip Yaffe

This book engaged my interest from the first page. Although it might not be a novel with characters, plot, scenes and dialogue it will help you learn how to create those scenes, write your news or magazine article and come straight to the point. Most important, it will teach you how to get readers and listeners when giving a speech to want to read or listen to what you have written or saying.

In Part one of the Book the Fundamentals of Writing the author defines both creative and expository writing. Creative writing entertains or amuses the reader. Expository writing instructs or informs. Both have their own mindsets, similarities and differences.

When you think about writing a short story or a novel, which are considered forms of creative writing you writing attitude is on that everyone will want to read what you are writing. The opposite is true in expository writing. The attitude is no one wants to read what I am writing. Your goal is to organize that information you are writing to generate the reader’s interest. How do you do this in both forms of writing? First, I learned that you text must have clarity. It has to be understood, simple and clear. Sounds easy but it takes skill, understanding and reading more of his amazing tips and techniques understand what this means.

How can a writer achieve clarity?

  1. Emphasize what is of key importance
  2. Deemphasize what is of secondary importance
  3. Eliminate what is of no importance.

This is one of the most difficult things I find when writing my reviews. I understand why I need be more concise and come straight to the point without any extraneous information to cloud the review and bore the reader. Make your piece as long a necessary and as short as possible. The point made is that everyone should be in there in the text that you want to have read. Conciseness means saying what needs to be said in the minimum number of words. I definitely agree with this statement and will try hard not to be too verbose in when making my comments.

One word that I have never heard used in writing is density. Density means presenting precise information and logically linking it so that what you are writing is organized for the reader to understand. Precise information allows you to direct the reader’s mind where you want it to go. You want the reader to understand what you think. Precise writing helps to ensure that the discussion will be about the information and conclusions that can be drawn.

Logical linking is something that I am just learning to do when writing my non-fiction books.  The data your article, book or story needs to be organized to create information for the reader to comprehend. The information has to have relevance, if it does not leave it out. It must avoid misconceptions and make sure that the logical link is clear.

The author explains how to build your text one sentence at a time. But, the most valuable tip that I learned was the inverted pyramid which I found quite helpful and caused me to go back and reread my second Alzheimer’s book to make sure that I followed the author’s tips for how to delineate the sections. Using this pyramid you start by creating your lead. Using the five W’s will help you to create your lead, your body and the information needed to construct the body of your work.

When you write your lead use the 5W’s as guideline and after writing your short lead answer all of the questions that are applicable. You are writing for people that might not have time to read an entire text. Make your message clear, sharp giving a vivid picture of what you are writing about.

Constructing the body: this is the hardest part I find when writing. You want to get the point across and using this pyramid you do that in descending order. The information after the lead becomes less and less important. Using the 5 W’s as a guide you can be more precise and clear. In other words the body of your work has detailed information in declining order of importance.

The fog factor, the sentence length and the tips on pages 61-72 helped me to reorganize what I had written. Learning the correct way to use bullet points and numbered lists and using the correct tense in my writing helped me to realize that I cannot write in every tense when creating my children’s or non-fiction books. The final part of Fundamentals in writing, which honed in on writing tips and techniques in English is really to all writers.