Haruki Murakami on his way of preparing speeches

June 10, 2009

in Books, Miscellaneous

Haruki Murakami's book (see links below)

Haruki Murakami's book (see links below)

While reading a book by Haruki Murakami on running and writing, a sort of memoir of the importance of running in the author’s personal an professional life, I came across the following description on how he prepares himself for international presentations in English language:

“Naturally it takes a lot of time to prepare. Before I get up on stage I have to memorize a thirty- or forty-minute talk in English. If you just read a written speech as is, the whole thing will feel lifeless to the audience. I have to choose words that are easy to pronounce so people can understand me , and remember to get the audience to laugh to put them at ease. I have to convey to those listening a sense of who I am. Even if it’s just for a short time, I have to get the audience on my side if I want them to listen to me. And in order to do that, I have to practice the speech over and over, which takes a lot of effort. But there’s also the payoff that comes with that new challenge”. [from What I talk about when I talk about running, page 101]

Murakami expresses some key issues of a succesful presentation.

  1. You have to give life to the presentation (it is not only about the content)
  2. It’s not so important how intelligent you are or brilliant the content is if people cannot understand you. The presentation IS FOR THE AUDIENCE, not to make the speaker’s ego bigger
  3. You have to be yourself, and try to transmit it. It is important that YOU are giving a speech and not someone else. So how is it different? What added value do you provide? If the speaker is not important he becomes replaceable
  4. Practice, practice, practice…. there are no secrets for giving a successful presentation but practice

Note: the links to What I talk about when I talk about running on Amazon.com on this article contain my Amazon associate referral link which allows this website to earn some money when you buy the book through it. This helps pay the hosting space ^_^ )

  • http://twitter.com/piori piori-chan/p10r1

    Hi! I'm one of those who were impressed by his English speech at Jerusalem this year :)
    I liked it so much not only because I'm great admire of his works but because I think he was himself.
    (As the third point in the above list says!)

    In his speech he introduced an allegory of “egg” and “wall” starting with a meaningful phase, “Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.”

    This sentence makes you feel excited because this is the very way he uses when he tries to tell you what he thinks important in his novels. —–Wow! It's Murakami!—-I thought and I felt like I was in his novel!

    I'll try to remember this lesson next time when I make some speech in public:)

    (If you are interested in his English speech you can read it online here –> http://www.47news.jp/47topics/e/93880.php )

  • http://www.gchicco.com Gianfranco Chicco

    @Piori-chan

    thank you very much for sharing Murakami's speach at Jerusalmen. I didn't know about it and I found it very inspiring, soulful and courageous. I don't know how it was received by the audience but a good speaker won't only say what other people are expecting him to say: he will share part of himself, his beliefs and motivations.

    ありがとうございますね!

  • http://twitter.com/piori piori-chan/p10r1

    Hey Gian! どういたしまして!
    I'm glad that you liked his speech! Yeah, it's just soooo soulful!!
    I think how audience receive his speech highly depend on their understanding and interpretation of his allegory 😉 It reflects your soul :) This is a trick of Murakami's speech (and novels too)! You listen to your soul 😛

    What I read in his speech is that we all are such small, helpless “egg” by individual and, at the same time, we create these “walls”, or systems, collectively. Therefore, we have to be careful enough when we do something collectively in order not to hurt ourselves (or “egg”s). Obviously, we, “egg”s, are more important than any “wall” :)

    As I said, this is my interpretation. There must be different ones.

  • http://www.gchicco.com Gianfranco Chicco

    @Piori-chan

    thank you very much for sharing Murakami's speach at Jerusalmen. I didn't know about it and I found it very inspiring, soulful and courageous. I don't know how it was received by the audience but a good speaker won't only say what other people are expecting him to say: he will share part of himself, his beliefs and motivations.

    ありがとうございますね!

  • http://twitter.com/piori piori-chan/p10r1

    Hey Gian! どういたしまして!
    I'm glad that you liked his speech! Yeah, it's just soooo soulful!!
    I think how audience receive his speech highly depend on their understanding and interpretation of his allegory 😉 It reflects your soul :) This is a trick of Murakami's speech (and novels too)! You listen to your soul 😛

    What I read in his speech is that we all are such small, helpless “egg” by individual and, at the same time, we create these “walls”, or systems, collectively. Therefore, we have to be careful enough when we do something collectively in order not to hurt ourselves (or “egg”s). Obviously, we, “egg”s, are more important than any “wall” :)

    As I said, this is my interpretation. There must be different ones.

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