Does Prepared beat passionate? In Communication YES!

Polished and Prepared Trinidad and Tobago PM Bissessar Speaks from Manuscripts

How refreshing it was this afternoon to see Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Persad Bissessar speak from a prepared speech at the swearing in of Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet (full list) on May 29, 2010. There is something about a head of government speaking from a prepared speech instead of from the heart.

Reality check Bissessar haters – Obama has teleprompters so he always seems to have perfect eye contact even though his speeches are prepared – let the hating stop there. He has even been called the teleprompter president.

When a person of significant importance has a practiced and prepared speech, it communicates a level of respect to the audience. The words were thought out prior to the occasion and, given Prime Minister Bissessar’s inflection and stresses, were undoubtedly read BEFORE hand. Ah the lessons many an Executive could learn from this.

No one is saying an honest statement does not add to the message. In fact, today, Bissessar did that as well – her comment about the various religious texts used to swear in her cabinet APPEARED not to be scripted and definitely added some colour to an already good speech. Was it prepared before hand? Maybe. But the practice and eye contact allowed it to appear genuine.

Is a passionate non scripted speech a good thing? Sure. If you’re a priest, making a toast or manage to be unlike most human beings and be adept at avoiding the “foot in mouth syndrome”. When you are prepared, you cover the salient points. When you are prepared, the members of the media can be treated with respect and obtain advance or “as you are talking” copies of the speeches delivered at a NATIONAL event. When you are prepared, you are polished and your speech will be the icing on the polished presentation you put forward (her silk Shantung suit was stunning AND appropriate).

Additionally, the Prime Minister was so prepared she CLEARLY had talking points excerpted from her speech to rehash to the media in a orderly interview.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is early. We have no firm proof the country will be governed flawlessly but so far, the approach to public meetings is refreshingly polished and prepared. That, my dear friends (he he he), is something that impresses me, a communicator at heart and patriot.


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One Response to “Does Prepared beat passionate? In Communication YES!”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Good Point!!

    Speeches can be dangerous however. The first way is when you spend more time learning the speech rather than the topic of the speech, so that if you need to comment around the speech, you are in difficulties.

    Secondly, if you are presenting to people who can interrupt you and ask you questions, then a prepared speech is definitely not the way to go. Even if you know the material, if your flow is interrupted while giving a speech, it can throw your presentation off completely.

    In my profession, prepared speeches are actively discouraged, speaking notes are the norm, but this is because we are constantly interrupted.

    The other danger of speech reading is that you become too much of a reader, not intoning correctly, or even worse, reading in a monotone, so that you lose your audience. That is why you must practice the delivery of your speech.

    Of course the addition of pithy witty off the cuff remarks, which the experienced public speaker seems to be able to seamlessly work into a prepared speech is a great tool to have to mitigate the danger of sounding too “ready”, when reading your speech.

    Great post as usual

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