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For me this is one of the most critical aspects of preparing text for speech!  

Every time that you look at or work with a word or a collection of words that create ‘meaning’ I want you to imagine a series of still or moving images that represent those words. I want you to transform the written word into visual images to think about and engage with. Word after word and phrase after phrase. I want you to respond personally and emotionally to those mental pictures and so allow yourself to ‘move away’ from the text. I want you to do this until you have thought visually about every idea lying in wait in the words in front of you, and until the pictures in your head have woken up you’re your vocabulary and its relationship to those images.  And then, and only then, I want you the presenter / actor / speaker to speak to me or the actor / guest etc opposite you about those images in your head. And you will do so choosing to use the words from the text / script. I want you to love your pictures and your imagination and to forget that the words and pictures in your head ever came off a page. I want you to become the originator of the meaning that lay in wait in the text and in your imagination as impacted on by your personal experiences and perspective.  

So remember when you pick up a text you are picking up a sleeping giant. The pages contain endless possibilities lying dormant and just waiting for you to work with them.  

(I do the above work because ‘in real life’ the brain relates to the world through images. It converts every piece of sensory information it receives into sight, sound and feeling images. These images are then considered, reacted to and acted upon. For example in ‘real life’ when we talk, we think of an image (idea) first, then we label the image (idea) with the words in our mind that jostle to represent the image (idea), and then we speak out the thought and images. And I think that we should be replicating that natural process on stage, set and in professional presentation situations. 

© Donald Woodburn

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