Sunday, November 29, 2015

A video where mediocre delivery overrides the content

Recently I watched Ben Angel’s 14-minute YouTube video titled How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Become More Influential. The content is OK, but the delivery fails five ways.

First, the title is misleading, almost backwards. His content comes from an unreferenced  2014 blog post more accurately labeled 5 Things Influential Speakers Do That Others Don’t. Five steps with headings in the video (and their times) are:

Energetic Engagement (1:06)
Manage Your Look (6:49) 
Dealing with Attacks or Criticism (7:43)
Presentation Structure (9:03)
Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking (11:41)

About 4/5th of the way through Ben finally gets around to really talking about how to overcome your fear (using visualization).

Second, although he talks about managing your look his set is distracting. Left of the sofa is a tall cylindrical container of twigs, switches, or canes. Are they decorative, or are they kinkily functional (Fifty Shades of Grey)? At the right is an imposing unlit floor lamp that resembles a crane. The shade is just to the right of his head, so my eyes were repeatedly drawn to it. It is the Elephant in the Room. Eventually I started hoping Ben would act out the classic drunken party joke by putting the lampshade over his head. It looks like a nearly perfect fit. 

Third, the zoom keeps toggling from wide enough to show all his hand gestures to slightly too narrow, and then back again. That’s as irritating as a hearing a dripping faucet. There are 103 zoom changes, or an average of one every 7.2 seconds. I concluded whoever had the camera must have attended the Take Two Breaths and Then Zoom school of video production. Zoom is the visual equivalent of cowbell in a rock song like (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, and usually we don’t need More Cowbell.  

Fourth, some of his gestures aren’t engaged with the audience. Instead they are done from his viewpoint, and appear backwards to the audience. Watch at 2:30 when Ben says to picture a scale from zero (right) to ten (left). 

When you think about it for a minute that scale really should be vertical (higher is up, not to the left), since he needs to discuss how energy varies over time.

Also watch at 11:26 where he talks about visualization, and at 13:00 says rewind while his hands instead say fast forward. 

Ben needs a warning (shown above) to stop gesturing backwards. 

Fifth, at 1:03 he says to:

“Grab a pen and paper and jot this down. Step one: energetically engage your audience.”

That’s not engagement. It’s just smug superiority.

No comments: