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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