Archive | 1:46 pm

If you’re going to read cue cards, be sure they were written by Bruce Vilanch

12 Jul

Admittedly, I’m something of a freak when it comes to public speaking: I love it.

And because I love it, I wrongly assume that EVERYONE must love it.

This morning, I was reminded that this is a faulty assumption.

I’m attending the Online Marketing Summit at the National Press Club. It’s a day-long seminar with speakers covering topics that range from effective lead scoring, to effective integration strategy, to maximizing paid search investment. Overall, it’s good quality information, presented by qualified professionals.

Except for this one guy. We’re simply going to call him “Ted” in the interest of not publicly humiliating him. (Because although I have a non-existent blog following, the dude IS in social media, so presumably he will google himself after the conference to see what people said.)

Anyway, I should have left Ted’s session when he finished his introduction. When someone opens with, “This is actually my CMO’s presentation, so I’m going to be reading from this handout a decent amount,” you should just cut bait and roll. This is a valuable lesson: remember it.

Because unless – like a four year old – you enjoy being read to, it’s not going to get better. Poor Ted. Not only did he read from her handout, but given the number of words he tripped over, it seemed like it was actually the first time he’d read the material. I started imagining how his morning had played out, and figured it went something like this:

Ted: Hey Maria, I think your presentation is going to be awesome!

Maria: I really shouldn’t have eaten clams casino for breakfast.

Ted: Maria, you look a little green…

Maria: I’m going to be sick – here – take this deck and deliver my presentation for me!

Ted: What?!

Maria: You’ll be fine. It will practically deliver itself. Just read it.

Ted: F*ck.

The thing is, had I been in college, I would’ve enjoyed Ted’s presentation. Know why? Because although he imparted no added value to the material, he had a catch-phrase that would’ve made for an EXCELLENT drinking game.  The only rule would’ve been: Whenever Ted says “in essence,” everyone must drink. And at the end of his presentation, the entire audience would’ve been drunk. In essence.

On second thought, perhaps THAT is the lesson to be learned: If you find yourself suddenly thrust into the role of presenter without any familiarity with the material, do NOT try to wing it. Instead, admit your ignorance, break out a deck of cards, and suggest the audience join you in a game of “Asshole” – before they beat you to the punch. In essence.