Had a chance to go to a Sunday School class with my parents today while visiting — the teacher is 93 years old and I felt that the opportunity to sit under such an instructor was worth being the youngest person there by a few decades.What a treat! This gentleman still drives and is incredibly sharp. I was a bit worried the presentation would be rather scattered and filled with thoughts that could not be completed, but I was wrong. While it was clear that years have taken their toll on the speed with which the body and mind could function, they could still function. Instead of rambling, he just paused and waited like a presenter should. His use of questions was incredible. He started with a simple statement of the subject, then sprung a “what do you think about…” and contrasted two things that really made folks think. Several times he gave some hypothetical questions that were more than just trite.I was blown away by this man’s sharpness of mind and the depth and ability to take in new material and process it, but was also pleased that he maintained a connection with his audience. While his voice and energy have faded to the point he is unable to use motion, many gestures or eye contact to hold his audience’s attention, his use of timing and pauses coupled with clear material appropriate to the listeners filled the gaps. Instead of rambling and stuttering, he would just pause, collect his thoughts, and issue a zinger of a phrase or question that had everyone with him. It’s always amazing when the attention of everyone is on the perhaps the quietest and least forceful personality present. Interesting stuff.By the way, he was not college educated and spent his career as an owner of a gas station and passed his time by fishing. Not a typical presenter’s training, but effective communication is a skill that does not ascribe to careers, and there is no excuse not to refine your skills. And, apparently, there is no statute of limitations on how long one can be an effective communicator.
Pace your communication such that you can stay ahead of it to offer content of note.