Mark Brown’s breakout – Editing for Effect: how to say the most with the fewest words
Many Toastmasters edit to reduce word count, in order to stay in time
- in the real world, there aren’t many 5-7 minute speeches
- sometimes better descriptions can be more important than cutting words
Less is more (sometimes)
Why use many words when few will suffice
Paint the picture
Shorten and simplify
Less isn’t always more
Think sharpen instead of shorten
Think crafting instead of cutting
- edit for impact
- sharpen where the audience can make distinctions (i.e. dank)
Select words and phrases carefully
Two terrific twos are effective descriptors
Adjectives and adverbs
- adding adjectives and adverbs allow the audience to share the experience
Example from 94 championship (Morgan) – tiny tumbleweed town that God has designated a winter misery test site, where the wind drives the cold to the marrow or your bones
- you can see the desolation and feel the misery
Example from Mark’s 95 speech – To appreciate their circumstance, she dressed as they dressed, walked as they walked and lived as they lived, with a concealed microphone and hidden camera crew following her.
Some looked right at her, and yet right past her. Others looked right through her.
Not just -ly words, but also use nouns with with.
- without remorse
- with vigor
End with the punch word or punch phrase
Identify the most important words (words and phrases)
- has the most impact in the sentence
Assignment – is there a speech you’re preparing to give? Review it again and ask, “do I need to rearrange some words, lines, or sentences to increase the impact?”
Fire your favorite
Your signature story may not be the best
- it may not be the best you have now
- have an honest talk with yourself
- is this story the most effective tool for the situation?
In Mark’s WC speech, he agonized for two days over the face that he didn’t have a third story. OMG, the power of three! He realized that the formula we all think is necessary isn’t a one-size-fits-all path to success. Once he got over it, he gave the two story version, and won.
Rearrange paragraphs and stories
Choose the best path
Go with the flow of the speech
- ask, “does this flow properly?”
- audio record the speech in an early stage, and hear what you hear.
- repeat until you get to the “aha” moment
Editing isn’t always about cutting.
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