I think I have been to one rhetorics / presentation seminar too many… I can’t watch a presentation any more without thinking: “you should stand on the left, touch – turn – talk, don’t walk so much, move a little bit more, speak louder, speak slower, …”
The past two days, I was on a seminar, an introduction to the company I’ve been working for the last year… (usually they’re faster than that… well, mine was a special case).
It was two days of presentations, one after the other, alltogether there were 16 of them, each between 30 minutes and an hour. I hope that I’ll never have to hear another presentation again, but I know that it is futile. I’ll have the next on thursday, and on friday I’ll have to present, myself.
Anyway. There were those presentations with new content and well made, there were those with new content and boring like hell. There were those without any new things whatsoever and still somehow interesting and there were those without any new things whatsoever and expectedly boring as hell.
This tour de force was a colorful walk through every presentation style imaginable. There were good presentations but it’s much more fun to talk about the bad ones (I think the fun to talk about it is proportional to the torment you endured while listening to it), so I’ll concentrate on that.
One guy seemed to have learned is rhetorics in the 1940s and trying to disguise it. He wasn’t that old, but he had the rolling R and the melody of speech typical for Hitler and those guys. He kept saying “Rattenzahlungen” instead of “Ratenzahlungen” which triggered my imagination (Raten – rates, Ratten – rats, Zahlungen – payment) but otherwise was rather disconcerting. At the same time, he didn’t have the stiff body language of the time (they only moved their hands and arms then, more or less) but was walking about 10 km in 5 minutes. Fascinating.
Another guy obviously set himself the goal to make us all sleep within ten minutes. To reach that, he decided the best way was to talk monotonously about an already rather boring topic, stand in front of the beamer screen, so we wouldn’t see the light and be disturbed by that and talk twenty minutes longer than he was supposed to (which is pretty much more at a 45 minutes presentation), so we could all get the rest we deserved.
One woman was afraid that she wouldn’t have enough time, so she started to shorten the presentation by just not breathing. It was amazing. The first minutes, I was afraid for her, but then I realised that she obviously didn’t need to breathe. 35 minutes of talking without ever drawing a breath… I wish I could do that too.
In two of the otherwise good presentations, the people felt compelled to use English words albeit their total lack of ability to pronounce. Can you guess what you-dsh and overfew mean? (solution at the end of this entry)
Just to end this on a positive note: yesterday I saw this really cute guy, walking between the two houses of my company (of course, there are a lot of people on Mariahilfer Straße, one of the major shopping streets in Vienna, so I had no idea if that was just coincidence or if he really worked there as well). He made some notes while he was walking, having the cap of his pen in his mouth what I found kind of cute (writing this down, I’m thinking that I am really weird).
A little description: a little taller than me (about 1m75), blond hair, about 5-10 cm long, 3-day beard, a teensy bit on the chubbier side of slim. Summarising: my type. :)
Later that day, I ran into him again – in the elevator in my office building. I was pretty sure now, that we worked for the same company. But being myself, I didn’t have the courage to talk to him.
Today, it turns out that he was one of the guys presenting (so he definitely works for “my” company). And thank god – he was one of the good ones! Also, he works in one of the most interesting departments (project development, where architecture, project and knowledge management are combined, the three most fascinating things in real estate companies…). And then he said something which made me melt all the way: “I like working in the matrix system better than everything else I’ve tried. Because of the challenges for your social competence, a result of the lack of hierarchical structure.” *sigh* A guy who doesn’t only know what social competence is, but also appreciates having and using it… (and a little anarchistic touch :P)
I can see all your bewildered faces now… probably my criteria for having a crush on someone are a little extraordinary but that’s me :).
Solutions for the little riddle above: huge and overview!