Monday, April 27, 2009

Listen to the POP to Know When to STOP

Who knew great speaking lessons could be found in the instructions for making Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn?


1. Microwave ovens vary. Cooking time may need to be adjusted.
How true. A speech that works brilliantly in one setting may "scorch and burn" in another. Temperature, lighting, room set up, time of day, etc. These are all variables that impact your audience.

2. Stay by microwave and listen.
In normal cooking, we set a oven timer and walk away. We know it will be done in 30 minutes. Perhaps we check once to make sure, but we don't stand there listening the whole time.

When you speak, follow the popcorn method of cooking. Listen. Pay attention to the audience's reactions and read their cues. And if you sense they are "done," try to end swiftly.

3. Open bag carefully.
Once the popcorn stops popping and the speech is done, don't end too abruptly. Take a moment to wind down and look at your audience before walking off stage. While you don't want to drag this out and let the popcorn get cold, the audience does need a moment digest what you've just told them and process your exit.

From the Green Room: Don't forget the most important instruction on the package. Enjoy! (Your popcorn and your audience.)


Anonymous said...

Your blog is an eclectic delight --offering terrific advice and inspiration from the most unexpected sources.
As his posthumous Youtube presence reminds us, Orville Redenbacher's tv ad persona was about as appealing as an unpopped kernel, but, in a culture of celebrity glam, his astounding lack of charisma seemed to make his brand all the more distinctive & trustworthy.

Laura said...

Very nice. Thank you.

Sarah Gershman said...

Thanks for the comments! I love the unpopped kernel analogy...

Weldon Long | Speaker | Author:The Upside of Fear said...

Good stuff. Nothing quite like ruining a great presentation with dragging it on too long. Get in... tell your stories... make your points... and get out!

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you Weldon.