Delivery . . . .

delivery pict  Use A Manuscript?

It is not difficult to pick out, without even seeing the person speaking, whether he or she is relying on a manuscript.  There are at least two reasons for that . . . .

#1) There is a vocal pattern which accompanies manuscript reading.

#2) A natural, conversational tone is heard, not in complete, grammatically correct, and/or in unbroken wording, but just the opposite.  As Robinson states, “As you preach, your words tumble out in long, short, or even broken sentences, punctuated by pauses, vocal slides, and variations in pitch, rate, and force.”


Likewise, a useful “manuscript” should reflect that as well.  That is why I prefer “an extensive outline” format.  If and when a manuscript reflects . . .

  • a grammatically correct pattern,
  • with few vocal pauses,
  • little to no hanging thoughts
  • no incomplete sentences or breaks in thought

. . . . it is likely that the manuscript is overtaking the art of public speaking.  The grammatically technical is overtaking the art because you can do things vocally and visually, which you cannot do in writing.  That is what makes public address an artform which is significantly different from the art of writing.

A speaker can play with tone, pause, dangling participles, exclamations, repetition, inflection, rate, gestures, facial expression, pitch, etc.   When it comes to the art of writing, vocal tone, visual clues, pause, are all accounted for in a far different way.  In writing, the author actually has to state the existence of these visual and verbal clues — i.e. — “She said that with a snarky tone, as the teenager paused and then replied leaning on one foot. . .  .”

What makes public speaking an art form is that you can play with words and ideas far differently than in the art of writing.

At times, I want to say to those who chose to use a manuscript – “Just hand me a copy of your book or article, and I will read it when I get home.”

I want the speaker to talk to me, not read to me!

One of the five canons of public speaking* — which is not shared with the art of writing – is “Delivery!”  That is one of the reasons that public address is a different art form.  Speakers get to add tone, movement, gestures, stance, countenance, etc. to their communication!  Speakers can create a question with just a vocal tone or the look on our face.  We can get attention by changing the pitch or using pause.  We can create humor with the change of our faces.

Writing has to do that  – and even more – a whole different way because there is no individual present and speaking.  It takes place with wording, imagery, explanatory narration, and the reader’s mind.**

Public Speaking is so different from writing, that if you “transpose” a message given by a good-great preacher, you will typically realize that it breaks all the rules of grammar.  You have to clean it all up to make it grammatically correct.  You will notice that the transcribed portions of these articles on rhetorical techniques are very broken grammatically.  Yet, as you listen to the actual audio, it flows easily.

In fact, it is because speaking is both different and more difficult than writing that speakers get paid more than writers.  (Link)

If you haven’t noticed, these articles on rhetorical techniques are written differently than most other “blogs.”  I use . . . .

. . . .



a related point

bold – ed words”



They reflect my attempt to impose a spoken style upon a written application.  As much as is possible, my writing is an attempt to visually communicate, as you would if speaking.  At times, I do not care that the rules of grammar are broken – (i.e. – not ending with a preposition, or using “he and she,” or putting a period where it should be when laying out a list of . . . ., or a word which is not really a word.)

If you would like to read an author from whom I learned that style of writing, read any one of Jeffrey Gitomer’s MANY published books (Amazon link)!  Flip through his various books and see how VISUAL his writing style is!  He is combining the art of speaking with that of writing.


   Gitomer little red book cover                     page from gitomer little red








The point I am making is that public speaking is an artform which is distinct, and when it comes to “delivery” you should take advantage of all the “delivery elements” which it affords.  It is those various elements of delivery which make it interesting and fun as you work verbally with an audience – NOT as you read to an audience.



“In your sermon manuscript, short sentences keep your thoughts from tangling and therefore are easier for you to remember. When you deliver your sermon, you will not concern yourself at all with sentence length, just as you do not think about commas, periods, or exclamation points. As you preach, your words tumble out in long, short, or even broken sentences, punctuated by pauses, vocal slides, and variations in pitch, rate, and force. Short sentences in your manuscript serve your mind.”  – Haddon Robinson


Proof:  Just watch yourself what happens when a speaker breaks from a manuscript and/or looks directly at his audience!  It all changes.  He comes across as sincere and credible!

If you are going to read it, just hand me a copy of your book or article, and I will read it when I get home. 

I want the speaker to talk to me, not read to me!


*The five canons of public address

Inventio: invention

 Disposito: arrangement

Elocutio: style

Memoria: memory

Pronunitiato: delivery

Note: “Memoria” has nothing to do with memorizing a speech!


** An interesting perspective:  “Having good ideas is most of writing well. If you know what you’re talking about, you can say it in the plainest words and you’ll be perceived as having a good style. With speaking it’s the opposite: having good ideas is an alarmingly small component of being a good speaker.” — Paul Graham

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.