BY PATRICK BARON
So I reached CC10. I was overall happy with the speech and my delivery. And the feedback from your slips reflected it was justified.
Overall, the intention and the aim of the speech was to inspire the audience. Using stories, language that establish a bond, using vivid words, picking a topic relevant to the occasion selected. From that point, it was satisfactory.
I felt that I was connecting with the audience, although not entirely as I was also having some of my attention on connecting to my text and delivery. A balancing act.
Except for the ending. I ended with the quote “Adversity introduces a man to himself” – Anonymous. I found it ironic and funny that it was from Anonymous.
Yet it was also slightly unnerving, as it seemed to have been lost on the audience, especially having spoken about something you had planned not happening and remaining composed. When it happens, how do you keep your eye on your job rather than the critic residing in your guts telling you “oh, it went wrong”. Especially when it is the last thing you say…
If really my intention is that my speech would please the audience, inspire them, and overall it did, why would I focus on the one thing that didn’t work? That is a paradox at the heart of many problems. Despite being for others, and their feedback being positive, it is judged by self.
An interesting table topic could be what is the most incongruous gift you received?
For me it was my mum who gave me when I was 12 or 14 y old a wrist chain with my name on it. I thought it was the most crass and stupid gift ever. What was she thinking? She must have put some thought to it because it was engraved with my name. Weird!
Yet when we write a speech, or think of a speech, how do we determine what would tick the boxes for the audience?
In everyday conversation, or in a therapy, I just have to keep my attention on the other person and I get feedback and adjust, and it is based on what came before. In public speaking, if the speech is funny, they laugh. Easy. But when the speech is serious, how do you calibrate?
I don’t know and don’t intend to provide an answer to close the debate. It is an enquiry that is worth keeping open…
Al Cowie gave me this:
Ah, see, I’d not realised that there was a joke, just a clever quote. For me, the joke (if I understand, and I may well not!) is more:
‘“Adversity introduces a man to himself”, but which man? Nobody knows because the quote is anonymous. Which implies that he didn’t entirely like who he met. Maybe the correct quote is “Adversity will show you what a dick you are, but Patrick Baron will help you feel better!”‘
My favourite quote is from “The Little Book of Utter Bo!!ocks”:
“Remember that you are the most important person you will meet. Why don’t you ask yourself for your autograph (you can say it’s for your inner child)”
And Ian Hawkins added: “I think Al is right that the delivery wasn’t quite clear, and I would also put this in the ‘high risk’ joke category. The way of getting this to work better as an ending is to really signpost it. It’s not a superfluous joke – it makes a point. And you can therefore get away with making that point harder, so that i people happen to find it funny too, that’s a bonus. The problem with ending on a laugh is that if people don’t laugh, it leaves you on a duff note, whereas if you leave them on a point, it doesn’t matter.
My 5c, for what that’s worth (possibly less than 5c!)”
Patrick Baron is a psychotherapist, counsellor and coach, based near Holland Park. He specialises in treating depression, addiction and birth anxiety in expecting mothers (and fathers).