Monday, December 7, 2009

SAY WHAT? Best, worst, and most clueless speakers of 2009

Today there was a press release in which Deborah Shames and David Booth, who are the principals of Eloqui Communications, handed out their first annual Say What? awards for three categories of public speaking. They named the following people:

OWN THE ROOM (for outstanding speaking):

Barack Obama, for his Fort Hood Address

Patrick Kennedy and Ted Kennedy Jr,. for Ted Kennedy's eulogy

Brian Williams, for NBC Nightly News

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH (for speaking without skill, meaning or passion):

Caroline Kennedy

Alan Greenspan

Joe Biden, our Vice President

FOOT IN MOUTH (for clueless speaking rather than shutting up):

Kanye West

Serena Williams

Joe Wilson, South Carolina Congressman for his “you lie” outburst

This list of top threes really is even sillier than one naming the most boring public speakers in the UK that I discussed previously. You need a list of five or ten in order to accommodate the “winners” in obvious categories like politicians, sports figures, musicians, actors, clergy, and businesspeople.

The press release did a pretty good job of putting “foot in mouth” too. In the first paragraph it described Shames and Booth as authors of:

“…Own the Room, their jointly-authored, business presentation book that has recently earned top rankings on three different bestseller lists.”

The last paragraph gave the full title of the book as Own the Room: Business Presentations That Persuade, Engage & Get Results. However, it omitted listing Peter Desberg, who actually is the third co-author. He does not work for Eloqui Communications, so he wasn’t “featured” in this press release. It is usually better not to leave out any co-authors when mentioning a book, unless you are trying to start a vendetta!

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