How many times have you marveled at the public speaking skills of some speaker only to discover their use of autocue. Does it affect your perception of them as a speaker?
It really shouldn’t. Because there’s a skill to using autocue when you are public speaking. And that skill comes with autocue practice.
Autocue isn’t a panacea for everything good when it comes to giving a speech or presentation. But it does help. It helps when you want to establish eye contact with your large auditorium audience.
Working in the background of course is practice. Plenty of autocue practice. Michael Bay, the Director of Transformers, knows this only too well. He’s found out the hard way through bitter experience at this year’s CES electronics, media and games show in Las Vegas.
He’d been booked by the electronics giant Samsung to give a little speech about his movies and the potential of the new Samsung Curved 105-inch UHD TV. So far so good.
The celebrated director walked to the front of the stage, met his presenting colleague, Joe Stinziano of Samsung America, and started talking. Or, that was the plan at least.
Managing to miss a cue on the autocue, the autocue scroller kept scrolling and Michael kept stumbling and looking very lonely on the stage.
And his reaction? He walked. With a brief apology he left the stage as his Samsung America colleague, clearly perplexed, filled the void.
Speaking later the Director re-stated his apologies explaining that he’d made a total hash of the speech, hadn’t practised autocue and noted his shortcomings when it came to public speaking.
The fun thing is that his adventure on stage, without autocue practice, has probably generated more column inches and speculation than anything he might have managed with a fuller speech.
That’s the joy of fame and fortune. Other mortals, presented with an autocue presentation opportunity should definitely take up the offer of some solid autocue practice. There’s more to it than meets the eye.