Friday, July 3, 2015

3 Lessons Learned from a Painful Public Speaker

1. Match the speaker to the occasion. A rat-a-tat military man may not be the right choice for a roomful of benign trustees at the annual meeting of a co-operative organization.
2. If the bad match is a fait accompli, build a bridge. The speaker made no effort to localize, customize, or otherwise bridge his (supposedly) motivational presentation. No corporate storytelling. No mention of the org's 100+ years of company history and community support. I suspect this fellow didn't make even the most basic inquiries. 
3. Never, ever phone it in. Public speakers are actors, performers, professionals. When we step to the podium, it's show time, every time. A loud voice and speed do not equal energy. If we don't project true energy and interest, we shouldn't be speaking. Barreling through a PowerPoint doesn't cut it.

I won't name names because the evening was presented in good faith. But I felt pain as I watched fellow audience members wincing, feigning interest, or snoozing. Best I can say is that Mr. X provided a wake-up call for my next presentation and, I hope, for yours.