Once you get past the fear of public speaking, the problem is even worse. How will you say what you want to say…in public? Consider my Jack and Jill Speaking Method. Let’s say Jack and Jill, two longtime friends who are home from college, meet in the local mall. Here is their conversation.
Jack: Hi Jill, great to see you. How’s it going?
Jill: Hi Jack, I may have failed math and science this semester, I’ve got to go to the dentist soon because at least one tooth is killing me, my brother just got out of jail again, his girlfriend had twins, my mother is still drinking, but at least she isn’t on drugs for now, her boyfriend is serving time, my sister, the tramp, has more boy friends than there are animals in the zoo, did I tell you about my bum leg, the one that I broke in high school, my father sent two alimony checks in the last three years, the bum, I have no idea what I am going to major in if they even let me stay in school, I’m really hungry, cya!
Although I’ve never heard anything quite that bad, I have heard some speakers who must have learned from Jill. How could we make her into a speaker worth listening to?
First, she would have to pay attention to what she was asked to speak about. Jack asked a simple question. The simple answer should have been something like, “Not so good.” Jack could have responded with, “Sorry to hear that but it’s good to see you,” and walked on. Or he could have asked for more information. If he did, Jill should have said something like, “This year has been challenging for me and my family.” She could have then spoken of her problems, her mother’s problems, her sister and brother. Or should could have limited her story to just her. Jack probably didn’t need ever detail. When he walked away he probably only remembered meeting Jill and that she and her family had problems.
Speakers need to list the points they want to make using an outline or mind map. Sift through the details and decide what is really important for their audience to hear. Weed out the extraneous details…and concisely tell their story.
Never speak like Jill. If you do your audience will think of you as you thought of Jill when you read her answer.