I’m not a world-class public speaker, but I do know that one of the unbreakable rules is that you should get to the point. Get to it soon, repeat it often, and make sure your audience walks away with it. (That’s the point of this post, by the way.)
Editor’s Note: And now you’ll feel free to ramble incessantly for the next few paragraphs, I’m sure.
My kids’ school system could take a lesson in getting to the point. On snow days or snow-delayed days, we receive an automated 5 AM phone call to let us know the status closings or delays. This is an almost word for word recap of what they say:
Hello, this is [guy’s name], superintendent of the [I’m not telling you which school my kid goes to, stalker] County School System, calling to update you on the status of school closings for [today’s date].
Road conditions in the county have deteriorated overnight because of the winter precipitation that began last evening. We have had crews out since 4:00 this morning, surveying road conditions to see if they are safe enough for buses and our teenage student drivers.
Because safety is of the utmost priority, we want to make sure that we take utmost precautions when making a decision on closings or delays. Although most of the primary roads have been cleared, some outlying areas might still have slick road surfaces, especially because temperatures are hovering around freezing, the barometric pressure is 29 and falling, and my artificial hip is flaring up again. Also, ol’ Bo, my yellow lab, looks really cold out there right now. But he might not be all that cold, because my back porch light burned out last week and I haven’t had time to replace it. So Bo might be cold or he might not, but either way when I put my tongue to my doorknob it almost sticks. Which reminds me of that popular movie in the 80’s…
[he goes on for a good while longer]
For these reasons, we’ve decided to place schools on a two hour delay today. Again, schools are on a two hour delay. Please drive safely as you go to school.
And that’s it. 5:00 AM. A message that drones for more than a minute. And the only tidbit of information I care about is at the very end.
If you’re a communicator, you’ve got to put the important info up front, eliminate the clutter, and get to the point.
Which is definitely not what I’ve done just now. But that’s okay, because my kids have a two hour delay and I’ve got the time.