Sunday, January 15, 2012

Public Speaking Tips: How to Handover Control of the Lectern; the Pervasive Problem of Clumsy/ Inelegant/ Awkward Handovers

First, some examples of clumsy, awkward, or inelegant handovers: Take a look at the first three of the five video clips below. What do you see? In each case, after the two people have shaken hands, the person who has just finished speaking (Leon Panetta, Louisiana Governor Jindal, and Ford’s then-CEO William Clayton Ford respectively)steps in between the lectern and the next speaker, thus briefly blocking the audience's view of the latter, as he moves away to resume his seat. Bad idea! And here's why:

Look at clips 4 and 5 which display an “elegant” or proper handover. Note how the person handing over control of the lectern goes behind the next speaker (Texas Governor Perry and DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman respectively)--stepping backward, if necessary--(that is, after shaking hands or whatever) as he or she begins walking toward his/her seat, thus ensuring that the audience's view of the next speaker is not blocked even for a moment once that person has come up to the lectern.

Note that the problem of an untidy or clumsy handover only occurs when the seat or chair of the person handing over is on the same side of the room as is the chair of the next speaker. If the two are seated on opposite sides of the room, the situation of an awkward/ improper handover does not arise.

© Copyright 2012 V. J. Singal
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