What Joe the Plumber and Ronald Reagan Know about Pubic Speaking

Why all the hoopla about Joe the Plumber? A man asked a simple question. He wanted to buy a business. He was concerned that he would not be able to afford to do so if his taxes were increased. Why does Joe's 15 minutes of fame seem to have a life of its own? Because it struck a nerve.

Joe the Plumber represents the common man. He wants practical answers to everyday issues that affect his life. He doesn't want theories about spreading the wealth. He wants to know in practical language what he can expect so that he can make a decision.

How often do financial speakers present their numbers without telling the story behined the numbers? What about technical speakers who don't translate how the technology actually benefits the end user?

Ronald Regan knew how to relate to the general public. He spoke in simple terms. He appeared as comfortable having a beer with a group of blue collar workers as he did when dining at a state dinner.

The lesson here is know your audience. Never underestimate or ignore a question. Speak simply and clearly. And adjust your style to match the style of your listeners. In other words, speak their language.