By Sidney Rocke
Excellent writing and excellent public speaking don't always go hand-in-hand. In fact, sometimes there's a wide gulf between the two. I saw this vividly illustrated here at the Writer's Center. I regularly heard writers provide moving, compelling, and fascinating material in presentations at the Center. Unfortunately, the material was often diminished by poor public speaking skills. This problem spanned all writing genres--even poetry, the writing aimed most at the ear, was sometimes delivered in a flat, unappealing monotone. As a litigator and sometimes writer this struck me as strange. But after speaking to many writers about this issue, I learned that my observations were no aberration.
Many writers tend to have focused introspective personalities and simply don't feel comfortable with public speaking. That's why I created a public speaking course specifically geared to writers.The aim is to instill confidence and skills that will enable writers to enhance the presentation of their material. Previous students have used these reinforced speaking skills on book tours and public readings. Other students have improved their ability to make business or academic presentations. If you think that you could benefit from a boost in public speaking skill, I invite you to explore Public Speaking for Writers, which starts at The Writer's Center in February. After all, you’ve put blood, sweat, and…more blood into perfecting that piece you’ve been working on for so long. You should be able to effectively and confidently speak from and about it.
Sidney Rocke, J.D., is a former federal prosecutor and Maryland Assistant Attorney General. He has handled numerous trials and court appearances nationwide and regularly testified before Congress and state legislatures. He also taught in a variety of settings, including the FBI Academy and Georgetown University. He has written for The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and LegalTimes. He received his law degree from The George Washington University, and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Massachusetts.