• Keith Bailey

What is With 1 Word®

Writing for speaking and writing for reading are on opposite sides of the same communication coin. The disconnect is that reading is mono-dimensional while speaking is dynamic. Yet we tend to sit down and write a speech like an email, white paper, book, or heaven forbid a powerpoint presentation.

I have created a dynamic Writing for speaking format, called With 1 Word®.

W1W draws out personal stories through tenets from long-form improv and the structure of design writing for the recall and telling of a personal story.

When we weave a personal story into a message, content, data set, brand message, etc., we increase an audience’s ability to remember what was said. The secret sauce to the writing for speaking technique, With 1 Word® is that it enables you to freely access the memories, experiences, and emotions that are stored within the Limbic System vault.

The way this game works is by integrating the three tenets of improv, which have propelled me as an Improviser. “First thought, best thought,” the poet Allen Ginsberg used to describe his unplanned and confident writing style. The first tenet sets up the second tenet – “Yes! And…” – by saying Yes! We are acknowledging the gift our minds have given us, the “And…” statement gives us permission to further focus on the first tenet. We understand that “No! But…” is the end to any collaborative conversation, even if we are having that conversation with ourselves. The third tenet becomes more powerful the more often we play the game. “Free Association”, as described online is, “consciousness without censorship as an aid in gaining access to unconscious memories.”

The key component is to recall without preconceived notion. This is achieved by spontaneously selecting a word. For early game players, we recommend using only nouns, as they tend to be a bit easier to access personal connection and recall. When playing this game in a group setting we crowdsource ideas from the audience, or “create” a word from a prompt:

STEP 1 - Ask someone what their mother’s maiden name is and how it is spelled –

STEP 2 - Ask someone else to give you a noun that begins with the first letter of the last name that you have chosen.

That is the W1W word to focus on and recall personal experiences.

If you are playing this by yourself you can do one of 2 things – click this LINK to see the game played in a group and get your word of the day, or grab a book, open it to any page and without looking, point to a page. Viola! There is your word. (NOTE – this is often harder because you may not get a Noun, which is easier from which to draw personal story). Advanced play delves into more abstract methods for triggering memories.

I am driven to share With 1 Word® with everyone who has something to say on any of life’s speaking opportunities, from social circles to keynotes.

Next blog will dive deeper into the corporate stages that are benefitting from

With 1 Word®.

At Your Service,

Keith MJ Bailey

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