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A good speaker can transport us, move us and impress us in some way, but he will not bore us or judge us. He will be able to challenge us, turn us inside out, convince us of folly or common sense, and even make us dream, but in all cases he will know how to find the words and tone to achieve the desired effect. This has not changed since the beginning of time.

What has changed is the scope of the speech. Through the written word, through the voice, through the image it can reach the entire earth at the speed of light; be multiplied infinitely, amplified, repeated, played over and over, archived and retargeted to the most receptive audiences. Not only has the reach increased, but also the quantity. If there is a 1% of good creators in a population, we potentially have access to all of them; not only the contemporaries but also the best who have stood the test of time. The competition is fierce, both in quality and variety. Shakespeare is still with us.

Whether the audience is neophyte or not, whether one aims at transmission or participation, whether the subject is technical or human, whether one communicates with ten people or ten million, when the teacher, the student, the lecturer, the speaker, the journalist, the musician or the artist delivers his content with regard for his audience, he is appreciated. Hence the idea of clearly establishing the characteristics of the audience before writing a course or a speech.

Between an unbearable thesis, the incoherent speech of the mayor of Champignac* and a well conducted Ted lecture, all the pleasure of learning, understanding and sharing is at stake. Hyperspecialized words address hyperspecialized audiences and condemn their users to those same audiences. Superlatives and alarmist tone in the media elicit reactions but are of no help in understanding. Using a vocabulary with ever stronger "impacts", their audience becomes dazed. In education, structured discourse is gradually becoming incompatible with hyperlinked and multi-channel navigation. The art of communicating is bound to change, but fortunately, its foundation always remains words.

Good reading

Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]

*"Agriculture, commerce and tourism are the two udders that sow the bread we water our children with!"
Gustave Labarbe, Mayor of Champignac

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