Looking back on my experience of competing in the International Speech Contest, I realize that I learned so many lessons. Valuable lessons! And I’m convinced they will help me get closer to my goals, and get closer to what I want, both at work and at home.
So, I’d like to share with you the top three skills I walked away with to help make life a little easier.
First – make your message short and sweet. In other words, get to the point – No Fluff! And this goes for both the written and the spoken word.
In this day of Twitter, Snapchat and so many others, you wouldn’t think this would be a problem, but it is. Your message has to be short, but is it clear? Does your audience, the person reading your message, actually understand it?
When sending emails, text, tweets – you have only the written word to depend on. You cannot include your tone or emotion to help the reader understand what you truly mean. Because of this, it is reported that emails are misinterpreted up to 50% of the time. Check out this amusing video on the misinterpretation of the written word: https://binged.it/2byQVy4.
So, as I prepared for my competition I became very aware of making my message clear with as few words as possible – the right words! I had to be sure that I was clear and concise and left my audience with a strong, inspirational message.
For example, during one part of my speech I was talking about my brother, Tom, and the gap in our ages. This was a very important part of my story. I started by saying:
“I was ten years old at the time. My brother, Tom, was twenty.”
For the sake of time, clarity and delivering more of a punch, I changed it to:
“I was ten years old, Tom was twenty.”
The same point was delivered with clarity using fewer words. I didn’t lose the meaning of my message.
Now that the contest is over, I find that this has carried over to my everyday life. My emails are more concise, my texts are clearer, and my blog – Oh Well. I guess I’m still working on that!
I’ve run out of room here for the other two lessons learned, so stay tuned next week. I’ll share with you another technique that will help make life easier.