Archive for June, 2008

That Podium Is REALLY An X-Ray Machine!

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Ursuline Academy of Dallas is a college preparatory school for young women at which Speech is a required subject. For the past 4 of their 100+ year history, I’ve taught a summer school Speech class there. Most of my students – if given a choice – would be happily sleeping late or earning some summer cash, rather than hanging with Mr. Tanner (and – for several of them – I’m sure that “hanging” feels like an apt metaphor.) They are draftees, not volunteers. So this year, I decided to let them in on a little secret which has a direct application for them, and which could have implications for you, the next time you are called upon to speak to a group or are listening to another speaker.

You see, a lot of folks think that a podium is an object designed to hold our speeches or notes. But what it really is, is an X-ray machine that allows the audience to look straight into a speaker’s soul.

I’m not kidding, and I don’t believe I am exaggerating. Whether the speaker is delivering a wedding toast or a keynote address, their words almost always tell us more about themselves than the topic at hand. For instance, we learn fairly quickly whether they feel passionately about their subject, or if they have taken the t