Excellence is not a gift; but rather a skill that takes practice.. Plato

Anybody who has attended either one of my seminars or a training course will no doubt be used to me talking about Plato and Socrates.. Socrates believed that the only way of improving our intellect was verbal rational debate; his love of philosophy (the love of wisdom) was driven from a verbal discourse base.

In the UK our political system is based on the same idea, stand up and debate your case. Prime Minister Question time for those who watch TV late at night! Written arguments, white papers, even blogs are not as persuasive nor as revealing as the cut and thrust of a debate. Having to make your case, justify your arguments and think on your feet is central to our political system; our education system and, I would argue, human relationships. I am in agreement with Socrates.

Well I am in agreement with what we think he believed, clearly we don’t really know ‘cos he’s dead! In fact the only reason we know anything about him is that one of his pupils Plato disagreed with him and felt that art of writing your arguments down helps you orgainse them and think about articulating them well. If he didn’t he wouldn’t have written about what Socrates said and we wouldn’t know about it 2362 years later.

So Plato’s quote above about practice applies to debating skills and the art of writing. I struggle to write (probably dear reader.. evidently! lol) and so blogging has always been a bit of a challenge for me. I am mildly dyslexic and don’t (unlike my kids) touch type.

I don’t believe that scripts work for presentations; I do believe that writing a script is a valuable exercise but learning it and repeating it verbatim is counter productive. I coach people to write the script to organize their thoughts (Plato) and then throw it away and get to their feet and practice (Socrates)

And what is funny is that the more we practice this.. the better we get at it. Most people put time and effort into avoiding practising (we call this practice avoidance.. clients often call it playing with PowerPoint!) but at some point the writing has to end and the practice has to begin.


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