Show, Don't Tell


Yesterday, I attended two sessions of Professor Bill Sonnenschein's lectures about giving good speeches. One was a lunchtime "storytelling" workshop. The other was his regular Leadership Communications lecture, which had a special guest.

What was the theme that linked these two events? The concept of "show, don't tell."

Many of you reading this probably have heard of the phrase before, usually related to how to write great application essays. But the same concept applies to speeches just the same.

During our "Storytelling Workshop", Prof. Bill taught us the importance of telling stories, because the stories show examples of your topic, which often helps your audience understand you better and remember what you had to say.

So, that same night, Prof. Bill applied his principle by having his special guest speaker, our own Dean Richard Lyons, give a talk to illustrate the components that go into a great speech.

Long story short, Dean Lyons gave a strong speech using stories and all the other key ingredients that Prof. Bill has taught us over the past 5 weeks. The best part was when the dean opened himself up for constructive criticism from the audience. How cool was that?

Seeing Dean Lyons talk in this setting helped me gel together all the components of good speeches. It also taught me the power of "show, don't tell." Now if only I can incorporate all that into my speech coming up this Thursday... =)


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