“Did you watch Arun Jaitley’s speech on TV? So much is written about it.” Lulu, my parrot, asked me.
“Watched a part of it. One commentator said that he is better at extempore speech than reading out a prepared one. And I agree.”
“I remember Atal ji. Terrific speaker. No match to him. Bal Thackeray was also a good speaker, though I will not say the same about his son and nephew.”
“I remember Prof Ram Joshi. He was the Principal of SIES College and he would address students on the Independence Day. Inspiring his students like me. I wonder how they learn this art.”
“Men of letters do it with ease. But sometimes ‘ordinary’ persons can surprise us. Haven’t you heard Sindhutai Sapkal? She has this gift of captivating her audience.”
“She is a great speaker, no doubt. She has a great and inspiring story, and a strong positive outlook to life.”
“I remember my Professor of Industrial Sociology, Dr Mrs Shanta Vaidya. When told by workers that they had signed a settlement securing very substantial pay increase she asked “Tell me, will your children enjoy a better quality of life now?” And it shocked everyone because nobody had thought of it.”
“Trust a lady to think of quality of life issues. Men would only think of buying a motorbike! So what I heard you say is that if you are a talented speaker like Prof Ram Joshi, or have a great story like Sindhutai, or a poser that stuns people, then you make a good speaker.”
“Hmmm….. You sound like an ISABS facilitator now! Let me think of some impactful speeches I have heard.”
“A worker in our factory was murdered and I attended his funeral. As the crowd started dispersing a frail man who wore a vest and khaki half pant – he was obviously a textile worker – stood up and asked people to assemble around him. He made a speech, homage to the departed soul, and he had all in tears.”
“Really? Such events have a momentum of their own.”
“Hmmm….. There were so many inspiring speeches during the infamous ‘emergency.’ And during the 1971 Bangladesh war.”
“Interesting. Why go that far?”
“What do you mean?”
“You have had very impactful speakers in your Thane HR Group, why did they make impact? Think about it.”
“You are right. When Dilip Ranjekar of Azim Premji Foundation spoke at Thane HR Group, nobody left his seat. After his speech they were huddled with him for quite some time. Satish Pradhan addressed a THRG gathering and it was a very memorable event. He had retired just ten days earlier from Tata’s, and he looked back on his career. Fantastic it was.”
“I know. I was listening too. People saw so many parallels in their life and there were so many points that appealed.’
“Vivek Paranjpe spoke about Pandharpurchi Wari. He took the seemingly simple subject to a philosophical and spiritual level which the audience could connect with. He spoke for two hours and the audience wanted more. Mind you the audience had people from many states and religions. But he could connect with all. Amazing!”
“So what makes a gifted speaker?” Lulu was professorial again.
“The one who is passionate about his subject, they will naturally speak passionately. Like Sindhutai. Like Ranjekar, Satish and Vivek.”
“The audience comes there with their own problem at the top of their mind. Problems sit in our mind like a leopard in the trench. Mind pounces upon thoughts that come its way which may help it find an answer or will lead to it. It literally feeds on such thoughts.”
“You said it Lulu. Hmmm…. You can speak well if your tongue can deliver a message to their heart!”
“Ha ha ha… That’s a nice take on John Ford’s ‘You can speak well if your tongue can deliver a message of your heart.’ You must acknowledge a quote, man! But answer one question….”
“Do you have to be a Public Speaker to deliver message to heart or can we do it in our conversations with people?” Lulu asked.
Lulu, my parrot, did not wait for my answer. He flew away fluttering his wings.