Sunday, February 26, 2017

Key Idea for Improving Your Writing: Listen to Great Speakers

Have you ever read something from so-called “writers” and asked yourself some variation of the question, “What in the heck made THIS person decide to become a writer?”
I admit that writing and speaking are not identical skills, but do you notice yourself feeling MORE excited after listening to a talk given by someone really moving, or it included an idea that made you think of things just a little differently than before you heard him (or her)?

Have you ever had a similar feeling after you READ something really entertaining or thought-provoking?

There are a lot of things great writers and great speakers have in common…or at least there are several similar things that most of the best ones seem to do.  Here is my list…
(Below, I also include some video examples that help demonstrate my point.)

They have neat, seemingly contradictory facts.
They make observations that are contrary to popular belief and do a masterful job of showing you their way.
They organize things in a way that crystallizes things for you.
They entertain first, educate later.
They make you feel like they wrote this (or made this talk) JUST FOR YOU!
They make you feel like you can implement this nearly immediately.
They make you see yourself thinking differently or taking different actions.
They make you feel like it’s something that you WANT to share, because it’s so great.
They make you afraid to share, because you don’t want your competitors to know about this “secret.”
They make it easy for you to remember the point and easy for you to tell someone else what you’ve learned.
They know how to tease you a bit…make you WANT to read more to figure what they mean.
You can actually FEEL their energy.
They know what they want you to learn and understand.
They come from a position of experience or independent perspective.

As I’ve mentioned in several other places (and maybe here, too), writing does NOT come naturally for me.  To this day, it’s still difficult for me, but I’ve developed this skill as an adult.  A lot more people enjoy reading things I write today than things I wrote as a kid.
I try to read different things, and this is good, also, but reading is not usually a quick process, especially if it’s anything good.

Watching videos--good videos--is not as taxing on me.

Let me give you a few examples…

In this video, Eric Thomas of ET The Hip Hop Preacher you’ll hear and see that he is one of the most energetic speakers you’ll ever hear.  You can’t help but feel more energy afterward.

Get any ideas to make your writing better?

In this video, Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding organizes things really well, and he begins with an intriguing statistic…that requires just a little more listening.

Get any ideas to make your writing better?

In this video, Patrick Bet-David of the Valuetainment YouTube Channel, he combines his unique perspective on an age-old topic (Self-Confidence: You vs. You), leading to unexpected, thought-provoking ideas, but they make sense after he explains them. He is not a dynamic speaker, but he shares valuable information, and you’ll be glad you listened, because you’ll like how you’ll think afterwards.

Get any ideas to make your writing better?

In this video, motivational speaker Craig Valentine uses a humorous story to make an important, memorable point that is easy to share. (The name of the video is “How Craig Valentine found out he is black.”)

Get any ideas to make your writing better?

Frankly, these are barely the tip of the iceberg.  There are SO many great speakers that you can find online.  I get ideas, not only for writing, by listening to great speakers.
Which speakers make you think more? Think better?

If you’re thinking more, better thoughts, do you think you might get some ideas about how to write better?

Figure things that great speakers do, and see whether you can incorporate them into your own writing.  If you start doing this, you'll soon see how helpful this is.

Any suggested speakers for me? 

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