Monday, March 16, 2009

SpinVox proclaims the ten worst moments in public speaking

On March 11, 2009 a British speech-to-text company called SpinVox put out a press release including their list of the ten worst moments in public speaking. Nine of their items have links to YouTube video clips, and the other one links to a newspaper article. The “winners” are:

1. U.S. President George Bush Fool me once, from 2002.

2. Delia Smith, proclaims Let's be Avin’ you!, at a stadium in 2005. Delia hosted TV cooking shows and is the author of many cookbooks. On this clip she is the obviously drunk majority share holder in the Norwich city football (soccer) club, and the fans are the twelfth man. Will Rachel Ray be like this in another twenty years?

3. Kate Winslet, Oh, God, who was the other one again?, from the 2009 Golden Globe awards.

4. Judy Finnigan has an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction at the 2000 National TV awards. (Warning: this clip has a very loud soundtrack!) Back then Judy and her husband Richard hosted the Morning Show on ITV, which was roughly analogous to Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.

5. Gwyneth Paltrow sobs at the 2005 Oscar ceremony.

6. Halle Berry sheds tears and screams at the 2002 Oscars ceremony.

7. Boris Johnson delivers the 2008 Olympic handover speech. Boris is the Mayor of the City of London. Ping pong indeed started as an after-dinner amusement for bored Victorians.

8. Gerald Ratner discusses his 1991 Total Crap speech in a Sunday Times article from 2007. Until shortly after delivering that infamous speech Gerald was the chief executive of a jewelry company, the Ratners Group.

9. Keven Keegan, the manager of Newcastle United, delivers his brief 1996 rant that I will love it if we beat them about rival football team Manchester United.

10. U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses Known unknowns in 2002.

I think they omitted another obvious one – Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 peace for our time speech, which Monty Python referred to as “Britain’s great pre-war joke”.

Their press release also contained results from surveys about boredom and fear, and suggestions for better speaking but that’s another story (or perhaps two).

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