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The Write Way: Churning Your Spilled Milk

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your persuasive speech writing. Reading time: 2:55.

“I love revisions,” says novelist Katherine Paterson,
“where else in life can spilled milk be transformed into ice cream?”

           No wonder that churning your spilled milk into ice cream through careful and thoughtful rewriting, editing and revising — over and over again —  is the requisite skill of strategic leaders and cogent speakers.

          Yet too many executives are only too quick to spill the milk of their ideas–their knowledge, experience and expertise RIGHT NOW –rather than churn that milk into an ice cream of thought.

   Their Spilled Milk of Ideas (writing)  churned into the Ice Cream of Thought (rewriting)  become more palatable and portable to the audience.

    After all,  your revised writing and thinking– like frozen ice cream–    can be  packaged and carried a lot easier than a carton of milk (writing off the top of your head).

   Yet too many executives don’t want to invest the time into the one-good-churn-deserves another concept of  speech writing. They’d rather spill their milk on the run. Without much organized thought. But with much bravado. After all, they know what they know and their milk is bottled and ready for consumption.

         These milking executives, their self confidence bordering on arrogance,  are only too ready to pour their ideas out of their proverbial milk bottles of expertise and experience on the spur of the moment.

        They are like the executive who was asked how long it would take him to prepare a 10-minute presentation. He said two weeks “but if you want a two-hour presentation I’m ready right now.” That 10 minute presentation would no doubt be more meaningful and memorable.

                             If you need some motivation to take your churn at your ideas more than spilling your thinking all over the podium consider these leading examples of revising and rewriting, of thoughtful and thought-filled churning:

Churning to Giving Your Text Texture

Thoughtful and Thought-filled Mario Cuomo

Albert Schweitzer

MARIO CUOMO churned. In writing and revising his 20-minute keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic Convention, Mario Cuomo churned a total of 16 hours—over a 10-day period.

ALBERT SCHWEITZER  churned. In writing and revising speech he gave on the 200 the anniversary of Goethe’s birth, Albert Schweitzer churned three months.

EDWARD EVERETT  churned. In writing and rewriting his two-hour speech dedicating the Gettysburg Cemetery, Edward Everett churned eight weeks.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN churned. In writing and rewriting his three-minute Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln churned three weeks and completed at least six different drafts.

        In rewriting, the best writers give their text texture – churning their spilled milk of thought into an ice cream of ideas, experiences and insights that we can savor. Their ice cream is churned over and over again. Each churn creates a texture that gives greater meaning and depth to their writing.

        With texture from churning comes “interwoven elements,” according to the dictionary, that enhance strength and integrity. With texture from churning comes greater structure and substance. With texture from churning comes greater character and credibility. With texture from churning comes a greater depth of understanding beyond cursory description or gratuitous adulation.  And with texture from churning your milk of experience churns into a cream of insight that savors like a dish of ice cream. Ummmmmm!

Today’s ImproveMINT

Revise and Rewrite to be even more persuasive and keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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One Response

  1. [...] The Write Way: Churning Your Spilled Milk (leadershipmints.com) [...]

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