Last month, I was asked to tell a story for some people learning English during a special festival. I agreed to it. As I was thinking about what to do weeks prior to the event, I would receive more information and suggestions on what to do. I originally thought I was telling a story, but it seemed like I was giving a lesson.
I was nervous because I wanted to stick to the script, and say what I wanted to say. I had a bit of stage fright, but I always had it based on the times I sung in choirs. I wanted to tell the story in a way that they can understand. When I told the story, the room was quiet. When I finished, the dude in charge of the English-learning program guided me (hand to my shoulder) to my seat and he explained something to them in their native language. Then a young lady told the story in their native language. I had words on the board that I thought stood out in the story, but it wasn’t meant to be something for them to learn. I was told they were first level English speakers, and I didn’t know anything about that until that day.
I felt defeated that day. One lady came to me asking about a word I used. Then, a guy came to me and talked to me about the story. He said he remembered it in a Bible class, and we talked more after the event about the Bible.
If I am asked to do something like this next time, I will make sure to know what audience I’m geared towards, whether it’s children, or people of a different country. I feel like it’s like stand-up comedy, where a comic would read their audience so that they know how to make them laugh. I would have to be the same way when sharing a story, or giving a message. Yes, I did think I lost in what I was asked to do, but I may have another chance to do it again, and next time I won’t be as naïve.
Another thing I would stress is that I need to know what I’m doing way beforehand. Any new information given to me later on will mess me up. It’s like a teacher saying I need to write a 3-page essay on Rock n’ Roll one week, the next week he adds that I need to quote sources, and the next week he asks me to interview people, and it’s due the 3rd week. I want instructions to be given to me like cooking instructions. It’s all there, and I can follow the recipe. That’s what I want to do, follow the recipe.
And I’m just getting started.