Fellow Speaker,

Professional stage performers, actors, musicians and comedians in particular will tell you this simple truth: LESS is MORE!

If you are an actor and attempt to convey every emotion you ultimately convey none, if you are a musician and provide no obvious “hook” – an easy tune to remember, your music is easily forgotten and if you are a comedian who fluffs his punch-line don’t expect laughter but stony silence or perhaps worse.

As a public speaker you too face this challenge. If you don’t believe me listen and you will hear speakers who spout a thousand words when ten well chosen ones would have done. You will observe speakers stride from one side of the stage to the other without thinking of their impact and you’ll be puzzled by those who gesture without apparent purpose.

In informed circles this type of performance is considered an insult to the craft of professional public speaking. It demonstrates that the speaker has not thought about his words, actions and impact. Public speaking above all is a discipline that requires hours of practice, study and thought. Here is what James Maxton MP wrote in 1922 about public speaking:

“(It) calls out all the latent will-power, character and intellect a man possesses. Reading and study are both essential if a man is going to be a first class platform speaker, but the only way to learn to speak is to speak and the experience of speaking will compel study.”

As Maxton so rightly pointed out it is only through experience, study and reflection you learn this simple truth: when you speak in public LESS is MORE!

Bobby Livingston
The Speakers College

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