Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How 'Writing for the Ear' helps speechmaking

Most of us learn first how to write for the eye, beginning with those reports for our teachers. The difficulty I had reading a report aloud in class resulted not only from nervousness but from the fact that the report was not written for the ear.

Material written for the ear is not only more effective but much easier to deliver. Sentences are shorter and simpler in structure. We use the active voice much more than the passive voice. Transitions between subtopics need to be much clearer. A well-written speech by itself can inspire confidence.

Ironically, we’d be better off if our writing education had gone in reverse – if we learned how to write for the ear first – because the principles of writing for the ear can improve all of the writing we do. For this reason it’s a good idea to read out loud everything we write. Doing so will help us find better words and stronger sentences and other ways to improve our writing.


(However, before you can write for the ear you may have to heal the ear. A doctor treating a youngster for an earache removed 2 spiders! But did he clean out the cobwebs?)


For more basics, see Writing for the Ear: a Primer in the left-hand column.

No comments: