Business speaking is my niche. I work principally with business people whose speaking centres around the need persuasively to communicate commercial matters to other business people. Yet this blog very seldom addresses business speeches because there are not many out there, on line, on video. I was delighted therefore to be introduced to Pop Tech. I could try to tell you all about them, but it is easier for me to supply a link so that you can see them for yourself. Pop Tech have Popcasts, and today we are going to be looking at one such.
Rose Goslinga has an insurance business that has developed a package that enables small-holding African farmers to be able to afford to protect themselves against drought-induced crop-failure. Here she is explaining it; and she shoots it from the hip – without script or notes.
She has a bald opening. Furthermore it is a James Bond film opening. She settles the audience for 45 seconds by speaking (I think) Swahili for us. In the process she makes it clear that Africa is her home. In fact she establishes that detail in one tiny word – we – “…in Kenya we say…” It is excellent ethos and decorum.
Immediately afterwards she lays out her stall. “I insure the rains.” Having done that, and before going into detail, she briefly returns to her ethos to consolidate it with some photographs. Thereafter she explains how the insurance works and what it achieves. Her ending is ‘paired’ with her opening, thus closing the circle. All my trainees will testify how much I advocate closing the circle. In fact her entire structure is very good: she’s kept it simple and dealt in clear concepts. Given all that, how much value could I add if she sought my help?
In terms of material, I would address her visuals. This is always difficult to judge when you are not in the hall itself, but here is a smattering of what I think. Those heart-warming pictures are ideal for ethos and decorum. Her man in yellow, who acted as her weather station, was also very helpful. But I think the abundance of pictures may be counter-productive when she is explaining the nitty-gritty: they certainly are not essential to the explanation. I would expect audience members’ attention to start drifting just after the 2:30 mark. The pictures are fussy and interfere with the clarity of her message. They steal too much of the audience’s focus from her, not least because she almost seems to lean on them for support. And this brings me to my main concern for her.
Her delivery is quiet, slightly shy, but warm and friendly. I am sensing that it conceals a fairly serious measure of stress. I won’t go into all the supposed symptoms, but I repeatedly felt that I’d like to help her kick much of that stress into touch. Without it she could still display the same shyness and warmth – which is appealing and probably her natural self – but she could do it from a much more secure emotional platform. And that would enhance not just this speech but all her speaking, not least by freeing her from dependence on visuals.
Most importantly, it would cause her to enjoy it more.