THE GANGTOK BOY
I find it very amusing… Some boys and girls, while on stage, find it difficult to go beyond two or three lines… sometimes, even one! It’s a huge challenge for me to help them open up… say more, feel free and at ease. Slowly and steadily, many of them do learn to speak more and speak with ease. Well, some of them simply give up!
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those boys and girls, who find it difficult to end… They can go on and on and on… Hop from one idea to another and then to another and then to another. I have to constantly remind them to keep it short… Filter out their ideas, crystallize them into few main points and convey them well. “What is the point in saying so much when your audience is not able to recall anything from what you have said?” I remind them, “Cut it short… Say a few things, but say it well.”
Yes, slowly and steadily, many from this category, too, learn to edit their long story into a razor-sharp script. Well, some of them simply give up, too!
A twelve-year-old boy was on stage, last evening. He had been with his family to Gangtok for a week and had just returned the day before. As I always do, I had asked this boy to share with us his experience…
The boy instantly took off, but did not know how, when and where to land his plane! Day one, day two and day five, and then he would suddenly remember day three and day one again and day four and day three… It was fun, it was crazy! But, for a change, I let the boy express himself with all that he had - action, feelings, dialogues and everything that defined his natural self… He was acting, jumping, entertaining and the class had turned into a comedy circus… Many were filming the action… and, this boy was showing no signs of landing his aircraft. Finally, after solid twenty-five minutes, I decided to bring down his plane…
“Let’s give our Gangtok boy a standing ovation,” I declared, as all of them rose, unable to end their laughter…
“There are two reasons why we are according a standing ovation to our sweet-heart,” I said, “One: for his ‘I-care-a-damn-for-what-you-think-of-me’ attitude. At times, you need that attitude in Public Speaking. Two: for demonstrating to all of us, that Public Speaking is not blah-blah-blah and more blah… It’s just blah!”
“Beta, while we admire you for your courage to do what you did without being ‘self-conscious’, you need to learn to keep it short… Tell a few things well!”
The boy agreed, and we decided to work on a short – tight, razor-sharp - Gangtok script. I and my Gangtok boy, both, are confident of pulling it off!
One, always, has a million things crossing through his mind when a topic is given to him. It doesn’t mean all million things can be put forward… It will be a disaster. The long story should be packed in a short script… That’s what public speaking all about. To support my point, I showed my young ones this video:
The point is made. I hope, it will be noted, too…