Why most speeches are dull

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Most speeches are dull affairs because they are simply pieces of writing read aloud. If you don’t want to end up trying to swim across a lake in lead boots, it’s vital to remember that speaking and writing are fundamentally different ways of communicating.

Speech is evanescent; its medium is sound. It unfolds in a series of moments; each moment - each word - dissolving into the ether as the next one appears in its wake. Speech depends on redundancy and repetition for its effectiveness - without those two stalwarts audiences would struggle to follow and make sense of what is being said.

In contrast, writing aspires to concision and can do so because it offers the reader time and space. However fascinating your content might be - and however interested your audience might be in what you’re telling them - speech is an extraordinarily inefficient medium for sharing detailed information.

This is why spoken communications should be content-light. If you need to share lots of information, do it in writing. A reader can pause, reflect, look things up, go back to an earlier paragraph or page, reread things and, most importantly, do it all in their own time and at their own pace.

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