Why I Manuscript
I was meeting with one of "my girls" the other day-- I've got a handful of girls in my life that have fantastic leadership and teaching gifts and every conversation I have with them encourages me-- and we were talking about platform communication. She had recently taught at one of our larger venue environments, and we were processing message preparation and delivery.
Communicators use a variety of methods-- outlines, mind maps, manuscripts. I don't think there is a best way or a right way, and I think the methods we use can vary depending on the season we are in and/or the environment or audience we are speaking to. I personally have gravitated towards the manuscript. Here are a few reasons why:
- Manuscripts force me to say exactly what I want to say. For years I used an outline, and I found that I sometimes didn't quite nail exactly what I wanted to say. I knew the idea or the concept or the general principle, but I had not taken the time to skillfully craft the wording and massage it into statements and stories that would be memorable and meaningful.
- Manuscripts help me develop the logline. In screenwriting jargon, the logline is the one-sentence description of your movie that contains the hero, the antagonist, the goal, and captures the imaginations and resources of producers and later audiences. For most messages to be effective, I think they need a logline. If we can't boil our message down into one succinct statement, we need to keep working on it. Manuscripts don't allow me to avoid that process.
- Manuscripts help transitions flow. I discovered that I was terrible with transitions. Forcing myself to write out a transition word for word helped me connect the dots better for my audience.
- Manuscripts help me memorize. The reality is, I rarely use my manuscript during actual delivery. But the hard work and long hours of writing everything out actually locks the entire message into my memory better.
- Manuscripts outlive the message. I've found it helpful to have sermon transcripts that can easily be transformed into blog posts, articles, book chapters, and other forms. While they must be edited pretty heavily, it still gives me a base from which to write.