Sometimes when we get up to give a big talk or presentation, the speech that sounded great on paper suddenly falls flat when we say it out loud. Why does this happen? It has to do with how we process language, which we do by taking in information from other people.
This ability to learn from two perspectives, both ours and our audience’s, is called dialogic processing. We also have monologic processing, which occurs when we don’t have that feedback, like when we’re writing our speech.
How do we activate our dialogic processing? The next time you’re writing something, say it out loud, or even better, to another person. That way your brain can get the additional perspective it needs to make your message effective.
– Have you ever had that experience where there’s something that you need to say, to present? So you’ve written it down, and maybe you’ve gone over it a few times in your head and it sounds really great until you actually say it out loud. Well, what’s going on there is a very important thing to know if you’re trying to make your messages better. And it’s exactly what we’re going to talk about this week on Find the Red Thread. I’m Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com.
So, what does happen to those beautiful words that just break down when you say them out loud? Well, you said ’em out loud. And that was the problem. But it makes sense, actually, if you think about where language and our ability to process information really comes from. It comes from our ability to hear and take in information from other people.
We weren’t born knowing words. We learned by hearing other people speak to us and point things out, and we got more and more information that way. We got the benefit of two perspectives: of the person giving us this information and our own internal processing and assimilation of that information.
That kind of processing is something called “dialogic processing.” Two perspectives, dia-logic. And the thing is is that we also have monologic. And that’s just that kind of observation that happens all the time as we’re moving through our day: “Oh, there’s a tree, there’s a cat, there’s a dog, here’s a thing that’s going. Oh, I’ve got this thing recording.” All of those things are just monologic.
But the really important thing to understand here is that if we only get that one perspective, we lose the real ability to understand how all the pieces fit together best. It’s the same thing that could happen, say, if you lost the sight in one eye. You lose that additional depth perception that helps you understand how everything fits together. Same thing can happen if we only ever have monologic processing of what it is that we’re trying to say. We want that additional perspective, and we want that outside perspective. More importantly, we want our brain to hear it as outside perspective so we can process it and understand how it best fits together.
Hopefully, the what to do with this is pretty clear. It’s say it out loud. Say it out loud well before you intend to say something out loud to somebody else. But you know what? Do this even with things that you’re writing. Because even then, you’ll get that benefit of that extra perspective. Of your brain hearing you say it as if it were another person saying it. And you’re going to get that additional depth of understanding.
The best, best possible world of course is for you to say something out loud to somebody else. And then you actually get that response. How are they thinking about it? How are they feeling about it? What questions does it raise in their minds? That’s going to make your message even stronger.
So, don’t let those beautiful words break when you say them out loud. Just say them out loud first as a practice, as a rehearsal, until you find the best way to say them overall. That’s this week’s episode of Find the Red Thread. Thanks so much for joining me. I’m Tamsen Webster of tamsenwebster.com. If you liked this episode, please do me a favor would you, and leave a review on iTunes or just share it with a friend so that we can get more new listeners thinking about the Red Thread and how to make their ideas big enough to move the world.