Self-Neutered Lecturers (Speakers, Presenters)
With my dissertation officially complete, I have… gasp… free time to do any number of things. Tonight, I lost myself for an hour or more in long neglected RSS Feeds and was up long past my bedtime. Rather than reading specific feeds, I took the mixed bag of the top level folder and just started reading and watching content in one post/article after another.
Two items stand out in my mind at the moment.
- Roger Ebert’s presentation, Remaking my Voice. [Ebert @Suntimes and @Twitter]
- Stephen Downes’ presentation, The Lecture Must Stand.
Taking the two presentations juxtaposed, there’s a stronger message for me than perhaps either of the two presentations in isolation. I want to give this more thought, but briefly and roughly…..
For me, Ebert’s salient message is that our own human voice is an inextricable part of our own identity, and if we lose the ability to speak, from his experience, we are compelled to forge a new identity. We are forced to “remake [our] voice.”
From Downe’s presentation, my primary take-away can be found a little more than half way through. Lecture’s are about making a connection – on any number of different levels – between the speaker and the audience.
Taking all of that along with another presentation I viewed on Slideshare at some point in the last couple of days, a common problem with lectures is that the speaker often nullifies, sterilizes, loses, neuters their own voice… their own identity. The lecture gets transmitted without the personality and identity of the speaker. The speaker and their Voice become – as Ebert described – disconnected from the speaker… from the audience. The challenge is to present – with or without technology – without losing the connection that occurs between a speaker and an audience via the speaker’s unique Voice… Avoid other aspects of the presentation becoming “brighter than the speaker.”