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Public Speaking 101

August 3, 2011

Filed under: Coaching,Journalism,observations — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:24 am

I recently attended a professional meeting to hear an expert on a topic I find interesting.

The actual topic is irrelevant, as is the speaker’s name.

When I arrived the registration table there were a number of brochures from the speaker, none of which seemed to focus on the advertised topic. I mentioned this to another attendee and she agreed, noting she was a bit surprised, but thought maybe the marketing materials were intended for a wider audience.

Fair point, I thought, since it was s pretty small group and she probably wouldn’t have created something just for this event.

I happened to meet the speaker before the event started and mentioned my concern and she explained what she had been told to address, which was, again, different from the original advertised topic.

When the lecture started she apparently switched gears again, asking the audience, what they wanted to hear. A noble idea, but what followed was a rambling, disjointed series of answers to audience questions. Some authoritative and others, she admitted, were not her area of expertise.

I’m not sure how the evening evolved into it’s final form, but I felt was a waste of two hours of my time. Maybe it was my fault, for expecting too much, but maybe, she should have just lectured on a topic that matched her expertise.

That’s all I really expected and would be a minimal goal for any presentation. My advice, next time you are asked to speak, just talk about what you know, in an entertaining and engaging style, and don’t worry about the preconceptions of the audience.

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