Speakers and speechwriters: Don’t be victimized by these 3 pernicious myths

These three clichés have irritated and worried good speakers and able speechwriters more than deadlines—even more than ceremonial speeches.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Left-brain, right-brain?

This myth has worked its way so deeply into the public mind it may never be dislodged. There are left-brainers, so the myth goes, and right-brainers. One is logical, numbers-oriented, and the other is artsy. Or something like that. I can never remember which is which. “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” is in its 4th edition, and, according to Amazon, has sold more than 1.7 million copies. A myth!

Yes, people are different. No, they’re not right- or left-brained. No science supports that idea. You don’t have to design your speeches to give relief to one side or the other. It makes about as much sense as designing speeches to appeal alternately to blond- and brown-haired audience members.

You only use 10 percent of your brain!

If only this were true. We could do mental exercises and suddenly become vastly more able, smarter. Unfortunately, we use most of our brains most of the time. There’s not much spare capacity. Don’t perpetuate this myth. Have mercy on your audience: Don’t ask them to do ridiculous things to tone up their brains. You’ll just frustrate and annoy them.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.