Monday, July 4, 2016

Darshanim And Public Speakers - The 11 Suggestions

At many smachos there are speeches. Very often, the speaker clearly believes he has very important things to say but one point is lost on him - most people don't really care what he has to say. When was the last time someone said to you - "I have 15 free minutes now. Please speak and I will just listen." The only people who do that take 250 dollars for their services.... When a speaker finishes I have yet to see the people insist that he go on and on. That is because they are happy it is over. Many people tune out the speaker in the first place and it would be fascinating to read the minds of the many people sitting there who are seemingly being attentive but are really in a different place completely. 

This being the case, some suggestions:

1] Keep it short. 

2] Keep it short.

3] See 1 and 2.

4] Make it interesting and relevant.

5] Speak from the heart. I am not a fan of people reading from prepared texts. It often makes the delivery dry. Write a few notes to remind yourself what you want to say and then say it. 

6] The most important thing: Compliment. Compliment the baalei hasimcha, compliment the people who came, compliment the caterer, compliment your mother etc. etc. Anything nice you can say should be said [but see 1, 2 and 3]. 

7] Don't be negative or cynical. It ruins everyone's good time.

8] At one of my sheva brachos a fellow gave a long winded speech about how we must defend ourselves against the Arabs, cited a halacha in Shulchan Aruch to that effect and went on and on. What that very serious and gravely delivered speech had to do with my simcha is still beyond me. The mood in the room was heavier than at a shiva home. Keep it light and apolitical.

9] Someone else gave a speech about how important it is to go to theater and watch movies in addition to learning Torah because that makes a complete Jew. I would suggest that one leave his crume [crooked] hashkafos to himself and share [if he must] in more appropriate venues [like a silly blog]. I was the chosson and didn't subscribe to his attitude but that didn't stop him. 

10] Try to use humor. Everybody likes to laugh. 

11] Assess your crowd. If even some of the people there are not serious learners - don't say a pilpul. Your bubby doesn't want to hear your pilpul. Nor does my bubby. They won't understand it. Nor does your not yet religious cousin Stan. Nor, frankly, do many kippah wearing, daf yomi learning men in the crowd. If you need to say a long pilpul send a text message that at this and this time you will be delivering a 2 hour pilpul on the topic of tzroros [or whatever you like]. See how many people come. I am not against pilpul. But you have to make sure that you have a כלי קיבול for your geonus.