Stephen Emmott – unintentionally hilarious

Imagine that you were I, reading a posting on Geoff Chambers’s blog in which he described someone as having the reputation of the world’s worst public speaker, what would you do?  Well I did.

They say that a sick person trying to self-diagnose their own symptoms via the Internet is on a dangerous course.  I guess that anyone reading this blog might have supposed that all you have to do is be casual, conversational and sincere.  Shoot from the hip and everything will fall into place.

Stephen Emmott gives the lie to that theory.  There’s a tad more to it than that.  You need just a little bit of process to underpin those things.  At any rate, notepad in hand, I settled down to watch.

  • 0:36 Thank you. We now know what you know nothing about.  I suppose that’s one way to introduce yourself.
  • 1:00 Thank you.  Now we also know what you are not going to talk about.
  • 1:20 I wouldn’t bank on many questions at this rate.
  • 1:32 By that time it might be a sceance. Listen to the nervous laughter from the audience.
  • 2:20 I’m losing the will to live.
  • 3:30 Ah good: I really needed to be told even more of what you are not going to talk about.
  • 4:15 … or selling yourself.
  • 4:34 YES.  I really know what the problem is.  The problem is that I’m beginning to get the giggles.
  • 4:50 Ah!  Another thing you don’t know.
  • 5:07  From two?  Oh I see!  Move over Darwin: we’re dealing here with the Garden of Eden.

I’m sorry: I just couldn’t take any more.  He’s consumed more than five minutes that I shall never see again to tell me nothing at all except that he needs help.

Could I help him?  Yes, easily.  He has the cojones to shoot from the hip, which already puts him ahead of many when I started with them.  He just has not the first idea of how to do it.  If Microsoft can’t afford my fee they might be able to stretch to the £4.80 that would secure an e-copy of The Face & Tripod, and the kindle app is free to download for almost any electronic kit.

I wonder whether this speech comes out at the Microsoft Christmas party.

1 thought on “Stephen Emmott – unintentionally hilarious

  1. Hope you’ve got back the will to live.
    Hilary Ostrov of claims she got to the end of the speech with the help of a bottle of Shiraz.
    He’s giving another talk tomorrow evening on “The Future of Life, from Biology to the Biosphere” – details at
    I don’t know if you have a section for the worst chairing of debates. If so, I’d like to nominate Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, for his role in a recent Greenpeace debate, in which he accorded himself four times as much time as any of the speakers, and also took up most of the question time at the end – all in the name of the new participatory digital media.
    You can see him in action at
    or read the transcript at
    The latter site has many transcripts of live talks and debates which you might fid interesting.

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