Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sharpen the Focus

Take a look at these two images. One is fuzzy. You can tell what it is, but the fuzziness is distracting. Right?

The other is sharp, clear, focused. Even though the image is just a hammer and nail, there is still a certain aesthetic beauty in the color and form. But, the beauty only comes out when the photo is sharply focused.

This analogy of sharpening the focus is one that we will use often as we learn to express our ideas in public. The first, and maybe the most important step in preparing to speak is to really sharpen the focus so that our listeners will know immediately and exactly what we are trying to say.

For example, suppose you hear a speech that begins with an emphasis on the benefits of exercise and includes information about nutrition, obesity, and other health concerns. If the thesis statement is not sharp, not tight, not focused, you'll leave with the general impression that it's important to take care of yourself. But that general, fuzzy impression won't have as much impact in your life as a message that says specifically, "Daily exercise is your best defense against obesity."

Learning Activity

To those of you who will still give your speech to develop an idea, I suggest that you sharpen your focus. Decide exactly what it is you want to say, with no ands, ifs, or buts. Say it, and make sure everything else in your speech supports that sharp, focused idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment