Do You Write The Way You Speak? (You Should!)

Learn how to create a conversational style in your digital media, including video, blogs, teleseminars, webinars, and podcasts.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #128

Do you know how to write and deliver for the ear (and not the eye)? It’s not as easy you might think.  But it’s definitely worth the effort because it’s the most effective form of communication.  

Remember when you were in school and your teacher told you not to write like you speak? Well, forget that advice.  Why?  Because it’s easier, much easier, to understand simple, conversational messages.  And let’s face it, these days we’ve got way too many messages coming at us. So the simpler, the better, and the more likely your content will be consumed and acted upon. 

Podcast, online videos, webinars, blog posts…really all digital content should to be written and delivered in a natural conversational style.  Since we all speak on day-to-day basis, it would seem we should already know how to do this.  But, in fact, delivering content in a conversational style is an acquired skill.  Thankfully, it’s easy to learn. In this two-part article I’ll cover 10 quick and dirty tips to help you develop your unique conversational style.

Here are the first 4 tips:

Tip #1: Think and Speak Your Content First

The first step is to think about your content.  Plant a mental seed. Let it marinate in your mind for a few days.  This will allow you to naturally and effortlessly think about different ways to verbalize your ideas. It may sound silly, but you just need listen to that little voice in your head while you are mulling over your ideas in the shower or waiting in a line.

After I’ve given the topic enough thought, I sometimes go for a drive to capture my thoughts on a digital recorder.  Other times, I’ll just record a conversation about the topic with a client or a colleague.  Of course, if I happen to be delivering a presentation on the topic, I’ll record the presentation.  This way, I’m sure to capture all the planned and unplanned content that spills out of my mouth. 

If I try to directly type content first, I find myself editing along the way. It slows me down considerably.  When I speak the content first, my fingers don’t interfere with the flow of information.  And I’m more likely to capture the information in a conversational style. 

Tip#2: Outline Your Content

Another option is outlining. Just jot down a few simple phrases for each key point along with possible examples.  By using an outline, you can then talk efficiently and are also able to choose, on the fly, the best examples for your audience.

Remember, when you deliver the content, it doesn’t need to be exactly in the order it was prepared. For example, when I do radio interviews, I prepare my core messages ahead of time—each of them in outline form on separate large index cards.  Then when I get asked a question, I choose from the prepared material what fits best. Then after a point has been discussed, I place the card in the “done” pile. This way, I can use the same outline for every interview on the topic.  The end result is that I am able to easily create several unique conversational expressions of the same content.   


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.