Jim Vance is my public speaking secret weapon.

8 Sep

I recently switched jobs at my company so I’m now developing and delivering training for our staff. As the daughter of two teachers and a microphone addict, it’s the perfect job for me.

Today was my first opportunity to deliver new training that I designed, in the form of an hour-long interactive call that was part lecture, part Q&A, part interview and part crazy. I had an audience of about 50 people and ample question prompts, so I was expecting it to be ROCKIN’.

Unfortunately, I’d forgotten about the odd dynamic that happens on group calls. Normally talkative people go quiet. Everyone chooses to mute their line. It’s like pulling teeth to get a simple, “No,” when you ask if anyone has a question.

More than once, I found myself calling, “Beuller? Beuller?”

I could understand the silence if I were a robot-like presenter. But I’d like to think I have contagious energy  a pulse and am hilarious a WEE BIT silly. And yet: crickets.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve facilitated large group calls for more than ten years and it’s always been the same.

When I was younger, I had an awful go-to joke. For whatever reason, whenever I would “share my screen” and allow people to view my computer, I’d feel compelled to make this crack:

Sure hope I remembered to close the porn!

Let’s just agree, while that can be funny, it’s probably not appropriate for work. Ever. And it only sounds creepier when it’s met with silence. As if people think I might surf porn. At work.

Maybe this is why mustaches are gross.

The only thing worse than that I can think of is the word porno. It’s about ten times worse than the word porn, for the same reason that mustaches are somehow inexplicably worse than goatees.

The good thing to come from today’s call was a reminder of why I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to hit Open Mike Night at the local comedy club. While some of my best dreams involve bringing down the house at the Improv, in reality, I think it might go a bit more like a conference call.

This made me realize: it’s always good to have some kind of secret weapon in your pocket. Something that people won’t be able to turn away from, that will weaken them and bring them to tears (preferably from laughter). Even if it has absolutely nothing to do with your presentation.

Once I had this revelation, I knew what my weapon would be: This clip of Jim Vance.

Please take a minute and watch it.

Just be sure you hit *6 first to mute your line.

Once you’ve closed out of any pornos you’re viewing, that is.

2 Responses to “Jim Vance is my public speaking secret weapon.”

  1. skippingstones September 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    My conference call experience is all from retail manager jobs. We pray no one talks because we have at least 12 other things we need to be doing right now. Just tell us what we need to know and let us get back to work.

    The worst talkers are the ones who ask questions about “what if…”, but they offer up far-fetched scenarios that would never happen. Or the ones who ask location-specific questions. I don’t care about your store, ask her to stay on the line after to answer your inane questions.

    Now, from your point of view, I get it. We need the mute so our bosses don’t hear us sigh or groan or talk to our employees or do office tasks while we should be listening. But I’m sure they would appreciate it if we actually listened instead. Especially when we later ask them a question that was covered on the conference call.

    As for your call, I don’t get it. You’re obviously awesome and funny and smart. A simple “yes, we understand” would have been nice. “We adore you and you’re the best trainer ever!” would’nt have been out of line, either. Maybe next time you should do what my boss does and call a few people out by name. Someone will answer to Mary or Sue or Tom or Joe. That might keep them on their toes.

  2. Kim Pugliano September 9, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Hahaha!!! I always mute because I don’t want my boss to hear me telling the dogs to shut the f*@k up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: