When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol he created one of the most memorable characters in literature – Ebenezer Scrooge, and consequently he hasn’t been out of print since his book was first published on 19th December 1843. 166 years later and you might wonder what this interesting nugget of wisdom has to do with you as a practising public speaker. The answer is simple: all great speakers have a message that is memorable. In Charles Dickens’s case he did this through the quality of his writing. In particular, and central to his plot, he created Ebenezer Scrooge – a character so strong you can see, touch, smell and hear his every word and breath as if he were there for real in front of you. As a public speaker this is something you need to learn to do too – to use language that brings your message to life. In speakers clubs they call this using “word pictures” e.g. which is more alive to you, using the phrase “a busy crowd” or instead describing it as a “heaving cacophony?” The more you use language that brings your message to life, the more time you spend getting into the characters or emotions of your plot (message), the greater the chance your next speech will be remembered for all the right reasons instead of being forgotten for all the wrong ones. All public speakers can learn from great writers for this simple reason: all great speeches must first of all be written! So this festive season why not pick up a copy of A Christmas Carol, learn from the master, enjoy his craft, but most of all – next time you deliver a speech make sure you put your creative pen to paper first!
The Speakers College