Friday, 3 October 2014

Seems to me that no one knows the basics of presentation any more. It's about time it was taught to all business people and those people who put themselves on public display.

Recently I have been receiving phone calls from businesses looking for customers, and from the bank. Each time I answer the phone with a polite Good morning/afternoon or Good day.

Without fail the response is "I want to speak to Patricia." Well, my name is not Patricia, it was, until I changed it legally, a bloomin' pain of a name which looked a bit like Patricia. If I point out that they should check the name again as it is not Patricia I get, not apologies, but grumbles and complaints!

What's happened to the old system of "Good morning, my name is Fred Smith, and I am calling in behalf of XYZ business. May I speak to....

That way the recipient could tune into the voice, and hear what the call is about. And it's a hell of a lot politer that "I want to speak to..."

The phone calls are mildly irritating. It's when writers can't present themselves at a public book launch that I start smoking from my ears. Why aren't these people, funded by my tax money, taught how to present themselves?

Last night was the opening of one of those Book Council/ Arts Council funded writers on tour trips given in my local library. Four writers doing a reading and chat. Only one acted like a professional. The others were terrible.

Nerves are natural. A few deep breaths do help before you stand and speak. No one had told these young writers that. Or about looking over the audience heads with a smile so you look as if you are looking at them but you do not give yourself stage fright.

We heard too rapid speech. The female doing the intros gabbled and did not give us the salient points. The three youngsters did not even introduce their books properly. They did not have an elevator pitch to give us a quick idea of the book. They did not introduce the characters they were reading about, and they read badly, mumbling, and not distinguishing between characters through use of their voice. The pro writer did all these things correctly and inspired us to want to read her book.

Seems to me I ought to start a writer's course in presentation and teach these basics. And didn't the three notice how much more the audience listened and applauded the old pro? Presentation matters, especially for writers who want to sell their books.

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