Effective Writing and Speaking
Many people can write, but few can write well. The same
is true of speaking. Some people speak with authority while others seem embarrassingly
inept – whether they are nor not. The ability to write well and speak well
makes a tremendous difference in how the rest of the world perceives you and how well you will communicate throughout your
As far as speaking in public, most people of any age consider this their number one fear. If you’re nervous about turning in a paper or giving a presentation, you are far from being alone.
In almost every occupation we can think of, you will be expected to think, create, communicate, manage,
and lead. That means you will have to write and speak well.
PROPER COMMUNICTION IN WRITING AND SPEECH
and speaking are direct representations of who we are. Experts suggest there’s
no single, universally accepted standard for how to speak or write American English.
Even so, school systems, professional communicators, and businesses all have standards and, not surprisingly, the rules
do not vary dramatically from place to place.
Free writing simply means writing that is temporarily unencumbered with mechanical processes, such
as punctuation, grammar, spelling, content and so forth. In other words, it’s
a way of writing without trying to write and edit at the same time.
A good exercise to experience what freewriting feel like would
be to write for at least ten minutes, nonstop, about whatever y0u want without giving any attention organization, grammar,
punctuation, and spelling. Remember, no one is going to read this.
writing helps you first discover what you want to say.
writing then allows you to transmit those ideas to others.
PREWRITING, WRITING, AND REWRITING PROCESS
Most writing teachers agree that the writing process consists of these three steps:
Prewriting or rehearsing.
This step include preparing to write by filling your mind with information from other sources. It is generally considered the first stage of exploratory writing.
Writing or drafting. This
is when exploratory writing becomes a rough explanatory draft.
Rewriting or revision. This I when you polish your work until you consider it ready for
Reason many students
turn in poorly written papers is that they skip the first and last steps and “make do” with the middle one. Perhaps its lack of time or putting off things until the night before the paper is
Your Text discusses each of the above stages in more detail and it would be to your advantage to study
each as you prepare to write your paper.
ALLOCATING TIME FOR EACH WRITING STAGE
Donald Murray has outlined how much time a writer should spend on each of the three above listed writing
Prewriting: 85 percent (including research)
Writing: 1 percent
Rewriting: 14 percent (revising till it’s right)
SOME FINAL OBSERVATIONS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER AND THINKER
First and most important, start writing the day you get the assignment, even if it’s only for
ten or fifteen minutes. That way, you won’t be confronting a blank paper
later in the week. Dig for ideas. Reject
nothing at first, then organize and narrow your thoughts later.
SIX STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SPEAKING
Much of what we have stated about writing also applies to speaking in public. Successful speaking involves six fundamental steps:
Clarify your objective
Analyze your audience
Collect and organize
Choose your visual
Prepare your notes
USING YOUR VOICE AND BODY LANGUAGE
Let your hands hang comfortably at your sides, reserving them for natural, spontaneous gestures. Leave your lectern and move around the room.
Don’t lean over or hide behind the lectern. Face your audience,
and move toward them periodically while you are speaking. Other helpful suggestions
Make eye contact
Smiling helps to warm up your listeners
Pay attention to the pitch of your
voice, rate of speech and volume
Pronunciation and word choice is important (fillers such as “um”, “ah”, “like”, and “you know” should be avoided
Consider your appearance
THE GUIDE CHECKLIST
G Get your audience’s attention
U “You” – don’t forget yourself
I Ideas, ideas, ideas
D Develop an organizational Structure
E Exit gracefully and memorably
WHAT IF ALL ELSE FAILS?
What if you plan, organize, prepare, and rehearse, but calamity strikes anyway? What if your mind goes completely blank, you drop your notes cards, or you say something totally embarrassing?
Remember that people in your audience have been in your position and empathize with you. Accentuate the positive, rely on your wit, and move back into your speech.
Your recovery is what they are mostly likely to recognize; your success is what they are most likely to remember.