The Elements of Style for Presenters
This morning I was in a doctor's waiting room and read my new copy of "The elements of style". I have never read it before and like the concepts. The foreword introduces us to Professor William Strunk, the passionate English Professor who self-published the first version of his little book on English usage that was the precursor to "The elements of style".
"The elements of style" requires concentrated reading. It is hard to determine what the rule is, the example, and the annotation. This is not a book to skim through, rather one to study. I found the book to be fun, once I focused all my attention on the message and the book does not take long to read through the first time. I will mark it up with my highlighter for future reference.
Rule 14 is particularly relevant to all presenters: "Use the active voice" For example, "I shall always remember my first trip to Dallas" is much better than "My first trip to Dallas will always be remembered by me".
As presenters, using the active voice to speak is even more important than when we write. Listening to a speaker in passive voice is very tiring. For example, when you follow the line above with "The burgers at McDonalds were enjoyed by the family" and continue in this vein, then I am likely to completely lose interest in the speech.
Therefore, always use the active voice in your presentations. You can google for sites that offer more examples of active and passive voice. Also, purchase a copy of "The Elements of Style". My copy was around $10 and is a fabulous investment to improve my writing.
We communicate with our language, and consequently we must always be improving our communication tools.
Labels: Book Reviews