Gunning Fog, Coleman Liau and Flesch–Kincaid are three names which are connected to readability levels of a piece of text.
I have always been interested to know how readable my speeches were and used to run them on platforms like Readable.
I then tweaked my speech to make it more readable. That’s right. READABLE.
At some point you realise, speeches are rarely read – they are listened to.
Is there a listenability level? I have not come across one yet. I think speeches are subjectively evaluated by an audience.
Here is my mini tool to help you with the readability of your text that you write to be read. Make no mistake, each Readability level has its own limitations but gives you a rough idea of how readable your text is for different levels of the target reader.
I was in a Theme Park last weekend and experienced water slides in all their glory indoors and outdoors!
Each slide seemed to have two components – the Climb and the Slide.
You could climb to the slide with a tube or a mat or just yourself. I found this initial step of getting a tube or mat itself interesting as it sets you up for the slide later.
You could watch a speech with a notebook or just yourself. I find that I approach a speech differently if I actively take notes or passively listen to it.
The climb itself is sometimes a long way and you need to wait in a queue to get to your chance for a slide. If the queue is long you might switch to another slide. If the slide is amazing, you will wait as long as it takes in the queue.
The body of a speech itself can be long or feel long. Sometimes we wait for messages in a speech to reach us. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.
Before the slide you could see the information about for what age is it appropriate, what medical conditions are to be kept in mind and even the weight of the person involved.
Before a message is crafted in a speech, we need to get into the shoes of the listener to see if we can provide a ride that they want to get onto. If the message is not crafted well, our listener will very easily be distracted and stray.
During the slide, the speed gets the adrenaline going and there is pure joy. If you do not like high speeds you might enjoy the blue slides. If you enjoy high speeds you might enjoy the black slides.
During the speech, the way we make our listeners feel can be joyful or hateful or much worse – indifferent.
After the slide, if it was fun – we want more. Sometimes more of the same slide or more of something different.
Likewise after a speech, we want to listen to the speaker again talking about the same thing or something different or we might want to listen to someone else
I went up and down many slides and felt great!
Can we take our speech listeners on many rhetoric slides and leave them feeling great?
A Gratwanderung is “Walking along mountain ridges”
I imagine walking along mountain ridges from movies.
Like in the Lord of the Rings when the group keeps walking from one mountain to another
I had been on simple treks with a few metres towards the end with ridges. Last weekend me and my sister were faced with a walk that would take 2 hours and 15 minutes one way with an elevation difference of 200m.
Both of us do not like heights
Both of us considered ourselves to be avid hikers and trekkers but not necessarily gratwanderers!
Here are a few things the German Alpine Organisation (DAV) recommends
Local weather conditions
20-22 degrees Celsius
Elevation difference during the ascent and descent
Length and Timing for the tour
2 hours 15 minutes for international tourists
1 hour 30 minutes for local hikers
1 hour for sporty hikers
Type of terrain
Walking along mountain ridges
DAV calls it BLACK
Huts to eat and drink
Heimgarten has a small hut heavy on sausages and pea soup for vegetarians
We decided to do it.
The first 10 minutes were difficult but after that our lungs got used to the new breathing and our legs to the new terrain.
When we arrived at Heimgarten we saw a guy wearing a pink bunny costume and singing Oktoberfest songs.
The beer was cold and the pea soup was just right to get us ready for the way back.
We took 2 hours on each way.
The way back felt easier because our lungs and legs knew what was in store.
When we came back to Herzogstand we added a BLACK rated hike as a feather on our caps.
We were proud of ourselves.
Are we walking blue and red rated hikes at work?
Is there a black rated hike that we are postponing or hiding from our teams?
Can we take it on with proper preparation and bit of courage?
Do we know the hikers and trekkers in the team waiting to become gratwanderers?
I very often have a story that happened to me in the past. I feel like I learnt something from that story that I would like to share. I then take it and make it part of my speech and then build the speech around it. I find this approach organic. Sometimes getting a supporting frame to this story is challenging.
Having a message first reminds of me of being called to make an Impromptu speech. I have a phrase or challenge thrown at me and I need to build from there. In this case as I get warmed up with a first few sentences, my mind is chugging away in the background trying to put together stories that happened in my life and try to relate them with the topic. The moment any story matches a bit, I bring it in. During my story narration, I keep looking for a nice to loop back to the message. The advantage of this approach is that the message is known and everything is built on it.
What is your approach when you write your speeches?
I decided to do a Vlogmas for Christmas last year.
24 short videos over 24 days from December 1 to December 24, 2021.
After trying a few different tools, I settled down with two Apps inbuilt in Windows namely the Camera and the Video Editor App.
Hardware used: (links below)
I use the Logitech 4K Pro Webcam and I am happy with the video quality.
I use an external mike namely the RODE NT-USB Mini and I am happy with the audio quality.
I use a table top external ring light namely the Neewer LED Ring Light and I am happy with the light quality.
Recording the video using the Camera App.
Two settings which helped me were the Framing Grid and the Video quality.
I used the “Rule of thirds” for the framing grid and ensured that my head moved around in the middle box.
The Video quality was set to 1080p (Full HD). If your laptop does not have Full HD, get yourself a Full HD webcamera. It is worth the video quality.
I decided on an idea for the video and storyboarded in my mind. As the video length is aimed at 2 to 3 minutes, it is easier to storyboard it in the head. Anything longer might need a storyboard on paper or the equivalent.
Once the video was recorded, the only thing that it needed was to be trimmed in the beginning and the end for a few seconds.
I first did it with YouTube video editor but then realised that there is an Windows inbuilt video editor which is easier and faster.
Editing the video using the Video Editor App
Create a new video project and import the untrimmed video from earlier.
The video trimmer is very basic and I like it for this kind of video.
The first few seconds are the ones where you click on the record button and get ready. These seconds need to be trimmed. You may either move the trim control or use the arrow buttons to move step by step. I realised that I have a special look in my face before I start talking and I wait for that short span before the mouth opens and catch that point for the initial trim.
The last few seconds are the ones where you click on the stop record button. Your eyes are looking at the stop button and these seconds need to be trimmed too.
Once the trimming is done, you may finish the video and remember to select the 1080p for Full HD video quality.
Now you have a video ready for publishing in different platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.