Speech Tip: 26 Will Do You Fine (Confident Writing)
You’ve got what it takes to write well: The English alphabet, the same general vocabulary pool, and a strong sense of how to speak. Confident writing is available to you. The rest is fine-tuning.
How I Know: I played on the chess team in high school. Sixth board. I held my own on a very good team. Having learned to play as a sophomore, I recount this accomplishment with pride. One reason I played well was because I knew the other player had no material advantage over me. We each started with 16 pieces. A teammate reminded me that the legendary Bobby Fischer also started with 16 pieces.
Similarly, Mr. Jack Bolton, my running coach at the Marquette Park Track Club, reminded me when I faced the remarkable Jim White from York High School (and 200 other excellent runners) in a big invitational meet. Jim, you see, was by far Illinois’ top distance runner at that time. My best wasn’t even close to his average.
“Tony,” Mr. Bolton said in an Irish brogue thicker than a glass of Guinness, “Look at Jimmy. He’s your height. Your build. He even looks something like you.” I nodded. It was all true.
“So what does he have that you don’t have? Not heart. I’ve seen you run. You never give up,” he continued. That was also true. I was tenacious. I left everything I had out in the race. If I had something left at the finish line, I didn’t run hard enough.
In chess and running, I knew the playing field was equal. Better chess players and better runners could easily be found, but not more confident. Because of this, I think I ended up with more success than I would have had I let myself be intimidated.
Writing a speech is that way
You have the same 26 letters in the English language I do, and that every writer you’ve read has access to. All of them. All the way to Z. You know all the essential words. You also know your message and how you speak.
As you know, there are variables that make one equally-built runner faster than another. And, with chess, among other things Bobby Fischer had going for him was a lifelong pursuit of understanding the game. There’s that in writing as well, but you may be much better than you realize.
Oh, and for the record, I stuck with Jim White through mile one, when he left me in his dust. But I know I gave it my best, and I feel good about that. That’s how I approach every speech.
Confident writing is available to you once you see through to what you already know.