Now that blogging is beginning to find its voice as a cultural phenomenon, what can public speakers learn from them? And what can bloggers learn from people who speak in public? Here are a few things we can learn from one another:
Blogging is the new technology in town, and has introduced a particular language and mode of communication that has a number of things to offer people who speak in public:
- Express your personality. Throw away the soulless corporate script and instead speak from your original and authentic voice. If you have a hard time finding the passion in your topic, it’s time to change topics.
- Speak truthfully. If you know something, tell us. If something bad happened, get all the information out fast. Aristotle said long ago that your personal credibility is one of the three most important elements of persuasion, and if you lose it you might as well just sit down.
- Tell us something we didn’t know. You’re up in front of us speaking because we are graciously allowing you time out of our busy lives to listen. We expect you to be on top of information, trends and ideas; and to open up new understanding we didn’t have before.
- Open up a conversation. We are living people out here in the audience, and we expect you to recognize that. Ask us a question, take a poll, tell us a joke that makes us laugh. We do want to hear what you have to say, but don’t expect us to passively accept it without the opportunity to actively talk about it with you.
What bloggers can learn from good speakers
In the course of history there have been quite a number of effective public speakers; these are the people who inspire, engage and open us up to action and new ideas. Their experience has a number of things to offer bloggers, including:
- Find your focus. One of the most beautiful things about life is that we all have different interests and passions. What are yours? Pick a focus for your communication and stick with it.
- Look for the story. Don’t contribute to our culture’s Attention Deficit Disorder; help us to cure it. Out of all the information you see, what’s most important? What does it all mean?
- Make the personal universal. Using "I" in your posts is a very effective communication technique. But there’s a fine line between being being audience-absorbed and being self-absorbed. Tell us all about your experience, to the degree that it can relate to the rest of us, and help us discover how we might learn from your experience and apply it to our own lives.
- Develop your craft. At the moment, blogging is mostly about writing, so learn how to be a better writer. Take a continuing education course in non-fiction writing or journalism. Learn how to write better headlines, and how to get right to the point in the first line of your posting. If you’re starting to podcast, take a course in radio production. If you’re screencasting or vlogging, take a course in video production.
Tip: If you’re a speaker, start a blog. If you’re a blogger, go speak in public. When all is said and blogged, we all have in common the need to simply express something we have inside. By expressing ourselves in the full range of modes available to us, we can’t help but get the message out clearly in a way that opens up mutual understanding.