When it comes to speech distractions we've probably encountered them all. Well, so we thought. Mobile phone speech interruptions are always common. And so are speech problems with hecklers or protesters. But, we've never heard of a speech distracted by a tie.
Until now. The speaker was Aengus Ó Snodaigh, a member of Parliament in Ireland. And it was in the Irish parliament that his speech was distracted by a tie. His tie. That's right, his very own musical tie. Not someone else's offending necktie, but his very own. You really couldn't make it up.
To the obvious delight of his fellow members of Parliament Mr Ó Snodaigh continued with his speech to the electronic sounds of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." His choice of tie clearly proved a distraction. But there again, his choice of electronic accompaniment was exemplary.
His speech concerned the plight of workers affected by asbestos diseases. But most of his audience's attention was on the jingly sounds coming from the speaker's tie.
There's a thought here. We know there's a focus that has to come with public speaking. A focus on getting your speech completed. Mr Ó Snodaigh certainly had that focus. There was no way that he'd allow his own musical tie to distract his speech. So, on he went.
Because, in fact, it's often the speaker who is the last person in the room to be aware of any distraction. We found this out a few years ago with the Monmouthshire County Council speaker and his jingling coins. Superb.
How to choose the right dress code for your speech is as popular a subject as how to manage speech distractions. So on this occasion we reckon that Mr Ó Snodaigh might have pursued more sartorial elegance elsewhere in his wardrobe. Perhaps a non-musical Christmas tie next time?
The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+