Friday, April 6, 2012


{For some reason, Blogger would not let me give this post a title.}

This may come as a shock to you, but...

I like words.

I like words a lot.

I like finding the word for EXACTLY what I'm trying to say. Why settle for "inspirational" when what you really mean is "influential"? Not to mention making sure you don't use similar-sounding words interchangeably. "Infinitely" and "infinitesimally" may sound close to each other, but there's a tiny, yet immeasurable, difference between the two.

{Points if you see what I just did there.}

I specialize in the written word. If I have my words planned ahead of time, I'm a good speaker, and I can usually make BS sound fairly convincing. However, I'm always more comfortable expressing my feelings and opinions after I've had time to transfer them to paper {or a screen}.

Historically, written words are invaluable. Just think about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution. People were voicing those thoughts, but having them in a tangible form ensured their endurance.

But sometimes I think the spoken word--voices--can be a much more important and powerful tool. Martin Luther King's ideas wouldn't have inspired nearly as many people if he'd just handed them out in pamphlets. The same goes for Jesus, Patrick Henry, Ronald Reagan, even Obama. Words themselves are valuable, but the voice conveys a level of passion and inspires a feeling of power that marks on a page never will.

I think rhetoric--the art of vocalizing ideas in an competent and inspiring way--is a dying art. More and more people think reading from a script is okay, ending a speech with, "So...yeah" is acceptable, getting "close enough" to the right word is, well, close enough.

The power of the spoken word is tremendously underestimated! This is sad for {at least} two reasons:

1) Because it's an important tool for building a better future and
2) Because people are so starved of powerful speakers, they immediately believe whatever they hear when it's said convincingly.

Yes, voices are important, sometimes more important than written words, but we have to remember to LISTEN TO THE IDEAS BEHIND THE WORDS. We have to be careful. Confident speakers can be tricky. Just because someone speaks well doesn't mean their ideas are honest, practical, honorable, or logical.

What this world needs is some triple threat individuals. People who can write well {understand situations, find perfect words, organize thoughts}; speak well {steady voices, clear eye-contact, inspiring attitudes}; and know how to think {recognize fallacies, respect freedom, reach the goal}.

Begging, crying, whining, picketing and stamping your feet will only get you so far. Become the triple threat that can change the world.

I plan to.


1 comment:

  1. Those are very noble goals to work towards. I agree with your point #2 the most. Great rhetoric can, at worst, convince people to do things they wouldn't normally do or believe, and at least it's a cheap parlor trick to conceal empty dialogue. That's why even no matter how talented a speaker is we need to keep our brains turned on.