In my last post, A Speech Is Like a House, I compared various aspects of designing and building a house to creating and delivering a speech. And I compared delivering a speech to painting the house. I think I would change the analogy a bit to say that delivering a speech is like decorating the house. (Painting is part of the decor, of course.)
Ugly decor — a bad paint job and a poor choice of window treatments and the like – can make a great house ugly and unappealing.
And a poor delivery — a lifeless voice, a gazillion ums and ers — can make an otherwise terrific speech fall flat. So delivery is important.
But if a house has no foundation, if its support beams are termite infested, if its walls and floor and ceilings are caving in, no amount of paint can save it.
If a speech has no goal, no concern for the audience and what it wants to learn, no clearly developed core idea, no unifying structure, no regard for language and style and logic (what used to be called rhetoric), a masterful delivery can’t save it. It’s rotten and it should simply be torn down and thrown away.
But, in my not so humble opinion, delivery is the last thing to work on. (Notice, I did not say the least important thing.) What do you think?
Photo courtesy of Wonderlane at Flickr.