Grab Baggers

This week I met with a skilled professional who values the art of public speaking, and then in the same breath announced to me that he won’t plan his message before he speaks.

Grab bagger is what I said to myself. Grab baggers are presenters who basically speak off-the-cuff, allowing any version of conversation to stear the next point he makes. Grab bagging is one of at least 7 major speaking barrier patterns that produce audience reflections of, “Well she was nice” or “Was there supposed to be a point to this presentation?” or “Did I miss something?” or “Did the original speaker bow out at the last minute?”

This speaker may begin with a question or two for the audience, yet since this conversational element (when well-done, is extremely engaging) can bide time, it hooks the speaker into a pattern of relying on the audience to drive the presentational content. It is the act of a lazy presenter.

Even without audience involvement, the grab bagger may string together a number of points in a topic that are loosely related, expecting that is Good Enough for what is expected on the topic. Without structure and a solid flow of where the points are taking the audience, the presenter has just lost credit with the discerning audience.

Listeners aren’t grouped simply to hear a person talk. They want to get something out of the presentation; actually, they’d prefer to get several things. Discerning and professional audiences appreciate the structure of a speech as it lends to new perspective on cause and effect, or appreciated strategy while learning techniques that support it. Audiences like to be given #’d points of assistance, as in “7 ways to turn around a chaotic moment”.

Grab baggers haven’t given themselves time to prepare. Prepare your speech. Know what specific focus you believe this particular audience will appreciate, how they can possibly benefit from it, what their challenges may be with it and tips in implementing. Create a carefully chosen gift for the listeners. Otherwise, close your eyes and grab at someone else’s party.

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On January 21st, 2011, posted in: discipline, Message by