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Every Wednesday evening except holidays and summer.

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Kings Way Care Centre, 8 Squire Drive in Quispamsis, NB (it's the seniors home on the Gondola Point Arterial) - in the Boardroom.

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There are no meetings on storm days.

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Speak to Express, Not Impress

by Heather Nicholson

We have all been tempted to use big words when giving speeches. When we do, our listeners will think we are smart. Right? Maybe. But the goal of giving a speech is to express our ideas, not impress the audience with our knowledge.

When giving a speech, as when writing, the KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) principle is a good rule of thumb. If you use 50 words to say something that can be said in ten, you risk losing your audience’s attention.

Some of the world’s best communicators used the simple approach. Author George Orwell said, ‘Never use a long word where a short one will do,’ and ‘If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out.’

To illustrate this point consider the effectiveness of Alexander Haig versus Winston Churchill. Mr. Haig (the former U. S. Secretary of State) said things such as, “When we find ourselves in a dialectic fashion at one end of the spectrum.” Now what does that mean? He also said “we find some disconnect on the airwaves” where he made the verb ‘disconnect’ a noun.

Mr. Churchill (former Prime Minister of the U.K.), on the other hand, was a master. When his people went to war and he wanted to rally the troops he chose these words: “We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.” That’s 33 words and 29 of them have one syllable. The point is made and nothing is wasted.

The trick is to remember your listener. Indeed, ignoring the listener is one of the biggest mistakes public speakers make.

So, you want to be a masterful communicator? First, learn to get rid of the fluff and say what you want and you’ll see that less is really more. Second, speak to express, not to impress. It worked for Churchill. It will work for you.

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