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Word Selection

For me the process and structure of speech is more organic than mechanical. I believe that the brain fires off in different directions all the time as our situation changes second by second. And as this constant shifting happens it must necessarily rummage through its vast vocabulary to find the right word for the moment. Think of how often it is that you planned to say one thing, but as you are speaking to someone, you find that although the ideas may remain the same, you have say alternative words because the others somehow don’t fit anymore. Well, that’s because every moment is unique, so every thought different, and so your word selection in flux, no matter how deliberately you have planned it. So please do not fight to fit words and thoughts into a tight little box.  

Remember there is usually more than one right word available at each moment for the brain to consider and chose for each thought / idea. So as much as we like to think that our thoughts are terribly structured, by nature they simply cannot be so. 

And so in order that you do not trip yourself up with too many rules and expectations of ‘perfection’ in public speech, the above ideas (or the above freedom) should apply. Your speech should come out sounding natural rather than prepared and full of spontaneous life rather than mechanical, flat, expected or too premeditated. If you go with formal, planned and executed, that is exactly what you will do to your modern audience. Execute them! 

© Donald Woodburn

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