03 Nov Public Speaking is so 1970
I must admit,I rarely have time to read the newspaper. I depend upon my husband to fill me in on the highlights so I can google them before I go to bed. I realize that the spousal filter sometime limits the news I hear- it is life in the fast lane.
Hubby tells me that Kerry made a major error in a speech and really screwed the Democrats. He tells me about how Kerry said something about the kids in Iraq being too dumb for college or something like that. I search on the internet and listen to NPR. Yes, everyone is up in a hoopla about this speech. Kerry’s camp says it was a written speech delivered wrong. A Joke gone bad. Etc.
I am sick of this crap people. My hackles are up.
ONE: Do not tell jokes if you are not good at it. That is SO 1970. Audiences do not want to hear jokes – they are there to hear YOUR perspective. If you can tell the perspective in a humorous way- fantastic. Whoever is coaching Kerry is stuck in the past BEFORE reality televison, pod casts, the internet and blogs. The NIxon/Kennedy debates taught a generation that on TV as long as You LOOKED good you could win a debate, a race and fool the American People. (I am not saying that is what Kennedy did- I am saying that if you listen to the debates- Nixon won. If you watch them- Kennedy won. We are now in a new communication millineum. Politicians need to ketch’up! This isn’t a television society anymore… we are now the internet society.. BE REAL.
TWO: if ANYONE has the right… has earned the freakin’ right to criticize the military and tell kids to STAY IN SCHOOL so they don’t go to war (like Iraq) a decorated war veteran who VOLUNTARILY put his middle class ‘didn’t have to go’ ass on a bus and later a plane to vietnam. The man was nearly killed over there at the age of 23. Now, let’s think of a moment – if you weren’t in school during his period, you’d get drafted. So of course he sees staying in school as staying safe. The dude is using his experience to try and shake some students into education. What we do in this country is why so many folks are afraid to speak in public. We make a mis-step and automitically we are attacked for how the message was heard rather than what we meant. I can remember telling a room for of highschool juniors 12 years ago during a Camp Enterprise Rotary event to go to college. Not because of the education gang, sure that is a benefit you will enjoy later, I am telling you to go because you will have SANCTIONED and sometimes paid for , 4 years of hanging out with other young people.. parties… high school with out bells. Anyone who wants to go right into the work force come with me and visit corporate america and the rat cubes- it is not fun. DELAY it as much as possible. Now, I have had at least 3 people contact me since them telling me that my little talk made them go to school and they graduated. If I had been in Kerrys’ shoes, parents would have called me out on the carpet for DARING to encourage kids to party. errrr.
A TWO YEAR OLD understands what Kerry meant. We need to consider the source when we consider what the person is saying. Take into account the person and their history. If we are being our honest true selves- we will ALWAYS slip up in communication. Lighten up America. This reminds me of the Bowling for Columbine movie. (I love this movie) In it, the director interviews Kirk Douglas who comes off as a gun totin’ racist. You know, I have more respect for a person who lived through the PRE civil rights era who has come ALONG way toward equality than I do some white kid who accepts what he has always known. Kirk Douglas had to learn to release the prejudices he was raised in. That is to be commended- not chastised.
THREE: Stand by what we meant when we said it. THis reminds me of the Hillary Clinton “You are an angry person” debacle. She responded, “I am not an angry person.” Thus the press repeated this defensive posture over and over. Instead, OWN it. Say, “I AM MORALLY OUTRAGED by what has happend to my country.” (Hey, dude, where’s my country.) The same holds true for Howard Dean – had he OWNED his highpitched squeal- he may have got the nomination.
I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not. TV has taught us to LOOK right. Reality TV is a set up now, we airbrush people in magazines… we want everything to look perfect. Times are a changing grey hairs… catch up! Your sons and daughters, many of them, have video camera capability right on their phone. They have blogs… the new media is all the little people, like me, writing at 1am. Uploading a picture or two. There is a new way to communicate.
Senator John Kerry, hear me, FIRE your speech coach. Fire your speech writer. Your personal experience will mean more to us than anything wordsmithing that someone who does not have your unique perspective could do. (While we are at it, let’s fire the hair coiffer too!) Let some GOP candidate use the old world skills in a new millineum.
Some good things happened in 1970. Heck, Queen Latifah, Uma Thurman, Ani DiFranco, River Phoenix, Andrian Dushev, and Jason Lee were born in 1970. (We sadly also lost Janis Joplin & Jimmy Hendrix that year.) The Ford Pinto was introduced, America gets its first female generals and the voting age was lowered to 18. .. cool stuff. We can be nostalgic for an earlier time.. I am wearing bell bottoms right now… just please …. when considering a career in oration – remember it is 2006. Be yourself… no acting.. no messaging… just give the people your perspective and communicate in such a way that you will be heard and remember.