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Politician's Speech Could Have Been Better

Posted 1/10/2020

A few days ago, a municipal politician came and spoke to my service club at our weekly breakfast meeting, before about 30 club members. Let's just say his speech could have been better.

He spent the first minute or so of his talk complaining about having had to arrive at 7:00 am. He was trying to be jovial about it, I guess, but the attempt fell flat. Everyone else in the room was a committed club member who routinely arrives at 6:45 am every week in order to have breakfast, conduct club business, hear speakers, and generally enjoy the camaraderie of our fellow club members. 

The speaker could have handled this by complimenting us on our fortitude and dedication for coming to these early meetings every week. That would have won us over and set a pleasant tone for the remainder of his talk. Instead, he came across as complaining. Nobody was very sympathetic. In the Q & A session that followed, our usually polite members were asking questions with a bit of an edge to them. 

 Another error in the politician's presentation style was his continual use of notes—not just as reminders of subjects he wanted to touch on, but as prepared text that he simply read aloud. This meant 

that he couldn't make eye contact with his audience for minutes at a time. And he had written his speech using a formal style of language usually employed in written documents, not the easy-going language that people generally use when they’re speaking aloud to a listener. It wasn't long before people's eyes started to glaze over.

It would have been far better had he written a speech that sounded as though he were talking to the crowd off the cuff. (I know this is possible, because I've done it.) And it's better to rehearse your speech sufficiently that you know a whole sentence just by looking at the first few words. This lets you maintain eye contact with your audience for most of the time you’re at the podium. 

This is the kind of thing we at Keen Eyes watch for during our Presentation Rehearsal service. Let us know if you have a presentation that you'd like to improve. 


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