O'Reilly logo

Presentation Secrets: Do What you Never Thought Possible With Your Presentations by Alexei Kapterev

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

THE OPPOSITE OF MONOTONY

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines monotony as “lack of variety and interest; tedious repetition and routine.” I don't know if you've noticed, but the connotations here aren't exactly positive. Monotony is on every list of public speaking “sins” and “don'ts.” I am not even sure whether I should be writing about why monotony is bad. Why am I? I do so because I want to point out a contrast, of course. What's the opposite of monotony? It's being variable, emotional, and passionate. Now, passion is an interesting word, too. It comes from the Latin pati, originally meaning “to suffer,” but now stands for “strong and barely controllable emotion.” This resonates with what I was saying about going outside your comfort zone. Passionate speakers sometimes look disconcerted to the point of losing control. It has been said about Tom Peters (who is probably the most passionate speaker I've seen) that he is not happy unless he is angry. I find that the same is also true of me. And I cannot inspire other people unless I feel inspired myself.

The 20th century saw (and what's even better, recorded on tape) lots of great speakers. They were all speaking with passion, even if some of them had nefarious motives. In reaction to this passion, monotony became somewhat fashionable in academic circles as a way of differentiation; monotonous speakers were, in essence, saying, “Look, I'm not trying to play on your emotions.” But again, there's no point in public speaking ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required