Oh no! Get me out here!
Today I attended the launch of a new software product. The company had gone to a lot of trouble – hiring the Crown Conference Centre and organising high quality catering – and clients had flown in from all over Australia to attend. Then there was the introduction – the big bang presentation to get the launch off the ground. Big screen with high quality Power Point presentation – tick. Presenter – confident, suave, well cut suit, looked a bit like Steve Jobs – tick. All going to plan so far.
But then the speech commenced. Oh no! Get me out here! It’s one of those speeches – the ones when the presenter reads the speech in a measured but unvarying pattern, no vocal variety, no engagement with the audience. He did look up from time to time, but it was too measured, too wooden, so disappointing. After one minute, I was wishing that the guy had gone to some presentation training – or even better, joined Toastmasters and practiced on a supportive audience to give him some useful tips for improvement before being released into the public arena.
While the experience was painful – it also highlighted the benefits of Toastmasters and how much we learn from coming along and practicing our public speaking skills every couple of weeks. Raw beginners speeches, after a few competent communicator projects, would have been much more engaging and interesting than the speech I endured. Maybe that is the problem. After a few years in Toastmasters and experiencing so many wonderful, heart-warming and hilarious speeches – you forget that out there in the big wide world there are people who have not gained the insights and skills that we have had the privilege to learn.