I was sent away to attend a seminar. Most teachers do this (attending seminars) to promote “professional growth”. I may have the same reason but I mainly wanted to do this just to have a quick get-away from the hustle and bustle of teaching. For 5 days of curriculum orientation and the activities to be done, I was, in a way, forced to listen to lecturers. But I have been very patient to some. Not all, but some. And after being particular about their mannerisms and the way they pronounce words, I have reduced lecturers or “guest speakers” to four categories based on all of my experiences as a spectator/audience:
Welcome to the circus!
The Ringleader - Those who demand and command attention. They can sometimes intimidate you with their superb intelligence and can make you feel stupid. Instead of using common words, they opt for sophisticated terms. No need for the scientific names, thank you very much! These people exude confidence all throughout. They really know what they’re talking about, and can sometimes go overboard. They know what to say, how to say it, and how people should take it, regardless if the audience like it or not. They could care less.
The Trapeze Artist - These guys are natural performers. They can talk for hours and will include the audience as they juggle a conversation after another. They occasionally show signals of conviction, giving off friendly gestures, a smile every once in a while. They talk like they know what you feel, whatever it may be. They don’t care much if everyone listens or not, but tries to be empathic most of the time. They’re modest but they try to please as much people as they can.
The Bearded Lady/ The Snake Man - They’re the freaks of the show. Pardon the term, but these people literally freaks me out a bit. They say things that are neither right nor wrong, and downright shocking. They’ll make you speechless or dumbfounded after they’ve displayed unusual behavior. If you hear these guys speak, you won’t pay attention to what they’re saying. Your eyes will be fixed on the way they speak, or the weird clothes they wear, etc. You will remember them for sure.
The Clown - Comedy is all about unpredictability and spontaneity, but these guys practice their jokes a little too much like they’re stand-up comedians. Yet, the audience respond and laugh (probably because they fear they might offend the speaker if they didn’t, or maybe I just don’t get the joke). They think they’re funny but they’re not. To make matters worse, they do it again in case no one laughs. I’m not entirely sure why they do this but I guess some try to hide their ignorance. However, that’s not always the case. Some just desperately try to be funny. It’s sad and pathetic but you just have to wear a fake smile to get it over with.
So there you have it folks! Why am I writing about this? It’s sort of a plea to treat people, or the listeners like they’re human beings. I’m not saying you should be perfect as a speaker, but you could at least try to be yourself and not act like your somebody else. I think that’s what we need nowadays. Just the plain truth.