Reading a Speech is a Learnable Skill.
Jeff Bezos, the Founder of amazon, is Reading a Speech at a Princeton University Commencement Ceremony. Now up front, I must point out that many Speakers & Teachers advise against “Reading a Speech”. But for the moment, let’s watch & listen to him Read his speech. Afterwards, let’s identify the several teachable points that can benefit us in our future Presentations. And finally, I’ll share my thoughts on the subject of “Reading a Speech”. So, let’s begin….
1. He is talking about personal events from his childhood which He knows well. Yet, He delivers his Speech by constantly referring to the Speech pages on the lectern in front of him. Here is a classic example of “Reading a Speech”. It illustrates several reasons for you to avoid this Presentation delivery choice. Lets see what they are…
2. In order to Read the Speech, He constantly refers to the Speech which causes his head to “bob” up & down. This bobbing can be very distracting to an audience resulting in drawing attention away from his message. Consequently,
3. His eye-contact with the audience suffers. He could have better served his audience and his Speech by using Note cards or even a Tablet as his Guide. The result would have been more eye contact and his story would have seemed more Conversational, more Personal. The result: making a better Audience connection.
4. Notice too, that He is making many movements handling his notes: Picking them up, holding them, and shuffling them are further distractions to the Audience. Additionally, consider this: an embarrassing incident could occur if the Speech Notes had dropped off the lectern landing at his feet or worse, blown away. These things do happen! But most importantly, all this paper shuffling is another example of taking Audience attention away from his Message…not his intentions I’m sure.
So, let’s Remember the Goals you wanted to accomplish when you accepted an invitation to Speak at an event. Anything you can do, anything under your control, should be well planned, well designed, and well executed. That’s expected. You spend your time & effort to produce a successful Event by ensuring both your Script & Delivery are polished… and if necessary, based on any combination of Time to prepare, complexity of Subject, and Audience expectations, you decide to “Read” the Presentation. My Reaction: Good Choice! and here’s why: although I generally advise against “Reading a Presentation” in fact, under certain circumstances it’s the Best Choice. And here’s the Good News! it’s a Learnable skill and one that I include in every Workshop I teach.
note: begin viewing the video at about 6 minutes
into the video and you’ll avoid a long introduction.
This video is a teaching tool, not a derogatory
comment on Jeff Bezos, simply an analysis
of his speaking style at this Event.
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