The Orator’s Parable

The Orator’s Parable, by Doug Samuelson, available on page 66 here.

“He literally doesn’t know the first thing about pubic speaking.”

“And what is that?” Brett inquired, even more surprised.

“Forget about what you want to say,” Ben smiled.

“What?” Brett blurted.

“Focusing on what you want to say is a distraction, or worse,” Ben explained. “You want to focus on what you want the audience to remember.”

Brett took a moment to absorb this.

“This has several advantages,” Ben elaborated. “First of all, you figure out who your audience is and try to meet them where they are – that is, start with what you’re pretty sure they know and believe and build from there. You emphasize major points more, repeat them several times, and make sure they’re clearly and simply – memorably – worded. Write your conclusion first, then your introduction, and make sure the conclusion summarizes your key point in a short, catchy phrase that they’ll remember if they remember nothing else. Then you build from introduction to conclusion in the order that’s easiest to follow, not the order that makes the most sense to you. This also means you time it so that if a session chair might cut you off, you make sure to get the conclusion in even if your delivery runs longer than you intended.”

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