Fit Focus Flair

Is complex language always wrong for presenters? Can you speak Jack?


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HR spent hours on the recruitment messaging and advertisement

We all know that there’s a right way to speak in public, when we’re singing for our supper – As professional speakers we’re taught to use:

  • The right language for our different audiences
  • Words that are not too long- nor too complex
  • Jargon thoughtfully
  • Latin seldom
  • The ‘F ‘ word carefully
  • Clichés never
All so very good, and very anodyne.  There’s a real danger of losing all of the interest and value of language if all we seek to ‘be’ is careful with it.  So I love to use unwise and forbidden words when I speak-  And as long as they’re relevant and explained first, no audience minds and most love the fact that they’ve learned something new.  And they never notice that intelligent use of uncommon language helps them to remember the point of the speech.
  • Words that are used seldom, like ‘Pulchritudinous’  because it means, and it is beautiful.
  • Words that need to be explained to a ‘foreign’ audience,  like  ‘clutter’,  because it’s useful and even great speakers of another language love to learn new and useful words.
  • Poetry because it’s not very fashionable and helps you to make a point; and
  • Shakespeare because it’s good and I’m English.
So here’s a whole new set of words that our audiences would find useful, interesting and memorable if we  ever wanted to use them.
A ‘Jack’ being a ‘jolly jack tar’ as English sailors used to be called way back in the 17th Century.

This is a part of my Fit, Focus & Flair model. To be great, a presentation must be a perfect FIT for the situation; the content must have complete FOCUS on it’s purpose and message; and it must have enough FLAIR to stand out on the day, and in our memories. Learn more about developing your Fit, Focus and Flair.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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