Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Speech geometry: lines, circles, forks, and combs

On February 6th John Zimmer blogged about Basic Speech Geometry. He began by noted that many people think of a speech as being something linear, as shown above.

There is no good reason why that line needs to be straight though. A speech could follow some sort of a story arc instead.

Then John continued by saying that instead:

“I believe that a speech should be circular. Not in the sense that you keep going over the same point again and again. Rather, I mean that the conclusion should somehow bring the audience back to the introduction.”

Last Thursday I blogged about how to Use a storyboard to organize your presentation. As you begin by putting note cards or sticky notes into stacks, you will notice that there also should be clear transitions between the main points.

A speech with three main points (and an opening and closing) will have a geometry that resembles a fork at this stage of planning.

A complicated speech with many points instead will look more like a comb. During planning you might unconsciously be aware of patterns like these. I think naming them works better.

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