Neil deGrasse Tyson once told me that he’s already written down practically everything he says in public.
At the time, I thought it was BS. Now I know it’s true. By writing frequently he’s honed his ability to speak rhythmically and become America’s most eloquent scientist.
He sees pop culture as a scaffold to support explanations about the universe: “I found myself with a foot in pop culture and a foot in my field… Think of it as a communication scaffold. Now you have information in your field that you then attach to that scaffold, and the person just receives it without hesitation and without jumping over hurdles.”
It’s not enough to write. You have to write publicly. As the author of more than 10 books, he has a well of already-written stories and statistics to draw upon. Only then can you anticipate counter-arguments and understand how subtle tweaks in your diction influence the potency of your ideas.
In addition to style, writing sharpens the substance of his ideas. Unlike speech, words on the page can be reworked and rewritten until they’re clear and concise. By the time he sits down for an interview, the hard work of thinking is complete and he turns into a carrier for ideas he’s already penned. If you want to become a better speaker, start by writing every day.
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