Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bowlers' Guide to Public Speaking Part II: The Hook

Back to bowling:

The goal of the bowler and the speaker is not to throw the ball straight down the middle towards the head pin, but instead to hit the space between the head pin and the pin right next to it.

This is called "hitting the pocket."

One way to do this is to bowl "straight." This requires precise aim every time.

Many bowlers say that the only way to score high consistently is by throwing a hook.

A hook is a ball that rolls in a curving pattern, thus hitting the pins with more force and requiring less precision.

Most of the time, bowlers first learn how to master the straight throw before they learn the hook.

As a beginning speaker, it can be tempting to experiment by throwing the audience a curve ball - taking them in a direction they don't expect at the start.

While I am all for creativity and risk taking, I follow the wisdom of the bowler.

Before you try to master the curve approach, first get your "straight throw" presentation down cold. No fancy footwork or great surprises. Just meaningful content and a powerful delivery.

Once you have that down, you can begin to learn how to throw a hook.


Anonymous said...

Does the "hook" mean saying something is somewhat shocking or provocative? Or could it have more to do with the way the speech is organized like disregarding the standard format or structure?

Sarah Gershman said...

I was referring to the latter - though the former could be a hook as well.