Your Voice Will Give You Away

Seth Godin, one of the most prolific and wise marketers, writers, and speakers, recently wrote about public speaking on his blog.

“It’s extremely difficult to read a speech and sound as if you mean it.
For most of us, when reading, posture changes, the throat tightens and people can tell.

Reading is different from speaking, and a different sort of attention is paid.

Before you give a speech, then, you must do one of two things if your goal is to persuade:

1. Learn to read the same way you speak (unlikely)


2. learn to speak without reading. Learn your message well enough that you can communicate it without reading it. We want your humanity.

If you can’t do that, don’t bother giving a speech. Just send everyone a memo and save time and stress for all concerned.”

I am trying to ensure that as part of speech preparation I rehearse multiple times to both help memorize the speech and also see where it needs to be edited for flow and time.

You have seen the result when a speaker didn’t do this rehearsal.

We all suffer from not having enough time to prepare but try to balance whatever time that can be allocated between time spent creating content and time devoted to rehearsal to improve the quality of speech delivery. If you can’t be excited and present in the moment[1] to deliver a speech just mail it in.

[1] Not being present in the moment reminds me of the Hindenberg disaster video as applied to speeches crashing and burning. If you don’t prepare to be persuasive and bring the humanity of your presence (that Seth mentions) to the speech you might set off the speech equivalent of the disaster to humanity stated in the Hindenberg video.