At some point I will be called upon to talk about my book. It could be to three people - probably friends - who show up at some self-arranged book signing. Or - in my wildest dreams - it could be on a national TV show with an enormous audience where I sit and chat with the host. More likely there will be events in between - where I'm addressing multiple smaller groups.
In any case, I sure hope I know what I'm doing. Last night I was at an event, and the keynote speaker was dreadful. The only part of his speech I remember came in the opening remarks, and that was only memorable because it was a man thanking his mother, a topic that I am obviously highly attuned to these days. But he droned on and on, reading his prepared remarks, never looking up, never changing his tone or register, and never noticing that as the speech dragged on, more and more folks in the audience were pulling out their blackberries and iPhones to check their messages, and in the case of one gentleman at my table, to play a round of "Angry Birds."
Cautionary tale. Know your audience and what they want. Stay animated. Be aware if you have lost them and readjust your comments.
I am really angry at this guy this morning, because dessert was served during his speech, and it was three different kinds of cakes on one plate. Normally, I would have just eaten one, but out of sheer boredom I plowed through all three of them. I feel bloated this morning. Clearly I bear no responsibility for my own eating - it is all the fault of The Bad Public Speaker.