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.

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I want to discuss three communication myths that get in the way of great public speaking: the right-brain, left-brain idea, the you-only-use-10-percent-of-your-brain idea, and the learning-styles idea.

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!

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