The Presentation Tip of the Day – from Andy Rooney

I have always liked Andy Rooney’s essays.  They were so well-written.

One quote that has popped up throughout the weekend, after his death, is this one.  He described his work this way:

“I’m a writer who reads what he’s written.”

This is your presentation tip of the day.

This is what Andy Rooney did.  His 60 Minutes ending segments were essays “delivered” orally – spoken – but, they were clearly written, word for word, in advance.

Though there is a lot to be said for a fully “extemporaneous” style, “extemporaneous” does not mean “unprepared.”  The reality is that every word we say, we write first – even if we write it in our heads just a split-second before we say it.  It really is better to write it “in advance.”

The greatest speeches were all fully scripted.  Written, then edited, then re-written.  The trick is to then deliver these pre-selected words and phrases in a conversational, engaging manner.

(You might want to check out this earlier blog post, where I show images of the process of editing from President Reagan and President Obama.  Writing a good speech is “work,” and requires plenty of thoughtful preparation).

And, how many times have speakers gotten in trouble for words that they wish they could get back?  Andy Rooney himself experienced this – in some pretty unscripted moments.

It is the “advanced decision making” – the “I intend to say these things” work, before you speak, that makes for an effective and memorable presentation.

Write, in advance, and then rehearse, so that it sounds “unscripted.”  This is the key.

So, here is the presentation tip of the day — be a writer who reads what you’ve written.

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