Posted by: George E Burney | February 12, 2013

How To Improve Your Public Reading

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When reading publicly, what should be your goal? It should be to express the thoughts and feelings of the person who wrote the material you are reading. What was he really saying? You have only his words, so use them. Read as he might have expressed the same thoughts in speech.

What’s The Big Idea?

This requires more that simply reading his words accurately. To read an idea correctly, you first have to understand it. Take the time to evaluate the idea; to analyze what it consists of; you won’t do that by just casually glancing over the material in advance.

You might ask yourself, “What is he driving at? Why? What led him to that conclusion? If the point he makes is true, so what? What are the implications? What is the main point, and how does the idea under consideration relate to that central idea?”

Answering those questions to your own satisfaction will likely result in your having a clear understanding of the material. You’ll be able to read it the way the author might have read it or spoken it, without distorting his ideas. In a nutshell, that should be your aim.

Conversational Reading

Practice reading as if you were having a conversation, and you were doing most of the talking. When before your audience, continue to do that. How does that help your audience? It can double or triple their understanding of the thoughts involved. Why?

One reason is that while some learn best by reading, others understand better if they hear an idea expressed. They could read for themselves what you read to them, and have no idea what the author is saying. They might read it over and over, and still not get the sense of it!

However, they can hear it once and get it. Of course, for them to get what the author meant requires that it be read with feeling and proper emphasis. In other words, you must emphasize the important words and phrases. Otherwise, the thoughts are garbled and confusing.

Even those who read with excellent comprehension will suffer when material is being read poorly, because in most cases, they cannot see what is being read! They too are at the mercy of the reader.

To the extent that you read as people talk, in a conversational manner, your public reading will improve.


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