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Note to self as a speaker: don’t try to be original – try being observant and creative.

October 8, 2012

Too often in Toastmasters, in life and in Society in general we sweat it to be original. Why? The fixation on being original is fairly modern, and tied up with ideas about property, money and ego. In previous times, what mattered was not so much who thought up a story (for instance) but whether they told it in an interesting way that engaged the audience. Think about a painting by Picasso and a brilliant fake (and how the word ‘fake’ with its negative connotations is already press-ganged into the act). The paint on the canvas may look exactly the same, the experience of looking at the two paintings may be exactly the same but once the provenance is known, the price tags differ markedly.
If we want to communicate, nothing we say can be truly original. In the final analysis who has defined the words we use? Not us as individuals (unless we are Edward Lear or Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland).
I think what matters more than originality is creativity. We can all spot links between ideas (or throw random ideas together and try to see some interesting links) and explain what makes those links interesting to us and how they work in our lives. Audiences and speakers alike will probably enjoy this more – and maybe even discover something (paradoxically) … new!

Posted by Steven

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