Sincerity and Bruce

Great presentation skills.

A professionally prepared powerpoint presentation.

A tailored suit.

When some people make a presentation they make sure everything is perfect.

On the other hand, I watched a 50 minute video of Bruce Springsteen’s keynote speech at SXSW. He spent a large portion of his speech staring at (maybe reading, it was hard to tell) his many pages of notes. He had no powerpoint and the only “prop” he used he had to ask for in the middle of the speech because he didn’t have that ready. He wore jeans and an informal shirt that, while maybe appropriate for the audience would not be considered by most people making a presentation as being proper.

In other words, Bruce Springsteen did almost everything wrong in his presentation and yet…he was wonderful. While he spent a good deal of the time staring at his notes while speaking, it was quite apparent that the words he was speaking came from his heart. While he didn’t check to see if he would have his needed prop onstage (in his case a guitar), when he did get one he used it to truly move the crowd. While he didn’t dress in a business type manner, he dressed in a way that allowed him to be comfortable and to be…Bruce Springsteen.

If you give me a choice between hearing a professional speaker who might speak on any number of topics or a person with the sincerity and genuineness of a person like Springsteen, I’ll take the latter every time.

Too often, speakers are too concerned with the presentation and the theatrics of the event and forget that deep down, it’s the content and the message that matters.

Does it help to have a name and reputation like a Springsteen to offset some of the “lackings” of his presentation…certainly BUT given a choice between a genuine person with a great message or a professional presenter who doesn’t care, to me, it’s a no brainer..

Deep down, despite everything, content still matters and for that, we should all be thankful.

Have a great day!

PS Somewhat unrelated but not really, back in the mid 80’s I went to see Springsteen perform in Landover MD. His actual performance lasted over 3 hours and in the middle of one of his songs, he stopped singing and started to giggle and then admitted he forgot the words of the song he was singing (interestingly, it was a song he had written). With many performers, they would have gotten booed for doing this but because of the sincerity of his performance (when it wasn’t unusual for performers to be on stage for barely one hour) no one in the audience seemed to mind. They brought out some sheet music, he remembered the words, finished the song and got a standing ovation. A person can only fake something for so long but when a person gives an honest performance, the people appreciate it, even if a mistake is made

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