Dr Roy Spencer becomes a voice-over

If the still picture on the video window below looks startlingly similar to the one on my previous post there’s a good reason. It’s the same video. A rare and welcome climate debate was held by The Heartland Institute on 7 July, 2011. Previously we looked at the opening speech from Dr Scott Denning: today the floor is given over to his opponent, Dr Roy Spencer. If you want to grasp the significance of Spencer’s opening statement, you want to watch from 15:50.

One minute into this speech Spencer looks at his watch, thus answering a question I have previously raised. There is apparently no clock visible from the lectern. He looks at his watch again a couple of times in the speech, before over-running by just over 3 minutes. (He finishes at 29:15: all the rest of the video is devoted to questions, I think – I didn’t stay to watch.)

Calling all conference organisers! Come on, Guys! Installing a clock for the guidance of the speakers costs effectively no more than a little thought. It might even save consequential costs when they over-run less often.

There’s another error here, and Denning had it too. There’s no ‘slave screen’, a small monitor in front of the speaker in order that they might see the slide on display without looking up at the big screen. There merely needs to be a vga feed for the speaker’s own laptop.

Every slide on the big screen robs the speaker of some of the audience’s focus (which is a very strong reason for a speaker minimising the number of slides used). Every time a speaker looks up at the big screen he compounds the felony by actively redirecting the audience’s focus away from himself and in the direction of the screen (look at the picture of Spencer above). The more he does it, the more he devalues his speech towards the role of voice-over for a picture show. Always use a slave screen!

At 23:30 Spencer puts up his umpteenth slide.  It is a graph, and he apologises for showing a graph. I gape in disbelief! A graph can save huge amounts of convoluted description and explanation, and therefore is an excusable slide. He should instead be apologising for all those slides of his that are covered in redundant writing. Without them he would have saved a great deal of tedious slide-changing and not over-run his time.

Can anyone explain to me why so many speakers stick up slides covered in words, and then proceed to read them out? Is there a research facility somewhere that claims to have established that it adds something to the impact of the words? If so, I’d like to have a hard look at their data, because all my study indicates the reverse. People have said that if the audience are given hard-copy of a deck of slides that tell a story the deck in its entirety needs to be included in the presentation.


Hasn’t it gone quiet.

Dr Roy Spencer is interesting and personable. His knowledge and understanding of his subject matter is a byword. This speech of his could very easily have been hugely absorbing. It wasn’t. What a pity!

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