Originality Over-rated?

Rich Hopkins posted an article recently on his public speaking blog, “Stand and Deliver” that said “Originality is overrated”.

I could not let that statement go unchallenged.

His primary premise is that “there is nothing new under the sun” and that holding yourself to the high standard of “originality” in all your speeches may prevent you from achieving your goals.

He points out that there are plenty of cases where originality is not required and, in fact, repetition is a good thing. I have to agree that not everything has to be 100% original every time… practice means doing the pretty much same thing over and over again so that you get better. But if you are doing it the exact same way every time, does it really get better?

If there is not an original element in each practice… something that you try to make the speech better or improve your efficiency or comfort with the material… aren’t you locked into mediocrity at best? Without originality (even in repetitive practice), you won’t improve.

I like do Rich’s suggestion to not get stuck on 100% originality and would add one key point

Everyone is an original and every event is unique.

Building on the past is what made our civilization great but the real key is each and every small piece of originality that we bring to all we do.

No, Originality is not overrated. If anything, it is underappreciated since there are so many way to be original… and I would like to thank Rich Hopkins since he found an original way to get me to write this post.

I’m sure no one has ever written a “counter-point” post to another post about originality before… right?

At least not on this blog… today !
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