Joey Asher

President of Speechworks, a selling and communication skills coaching company in Atlanta. He has worked with hundreds of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.” He can be reached at 404-266-0888 or joey@speechworks.net

I don’t know if Google Glass is going to change the world. But it might change the way that we give presentations.

Google Glass is the cool new computer gadget that, when it’s finally available, will be worn like a pair of glasses. It will have a camera to take pictures. It will also have a small video screen that can display text and photos to the person wearing the device.

If you go to the Google Glass website, you will see a demonstration of how the device can be used to take photos, make movies, send text messages, get driving directions and even call up pictures of friends.

The device is raising safety and privacy concerns.  Virginia lawmakers have tried to ban the gadget from use while driving. A Seattle bar has preemptively banned the device because of fears that the ease of taking photos will invade patron’s privacy. And  much of Las Vegas is apparently terrified. With Google Glass, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas.

But as a public speaking coach, I wonder if Google Glass could help us be better speakers.

Could Google Glass be used as a Teleprompter?

One of the worst things you can do as a speaker is read your speech.  It makes you look stiff and unprepared. Reading also prevents you from connecting with the audience through eye contact.

But what if Google Glass could allow your notes float invisibly in front of your eyes?  You might be able to read the speech without your audience knowing that you’re reading.  That’s what a teleprompter does. And that’s how news anchors and politicians are able to maintain perfect eye contact and remember everything they need to say. They’re really just reading their notes while making eye contact.

I have many clients that use teleprompters when delivering important speeches, especially when speaking with shareholders.  And they spend a great deal of money hiring teleprompter companies to help them.  And then they hire firms like mine to help them learn to read the teleprompter scripts in a way that seems natural.

Is the day coming when CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies ditch the teleprompters for the Google Glasses?

Will Google Glass interfere with the connection between the speaker and the listener?

Saturday Night Live did a hilarious sketch that made fun of how awkward and strange the glasses seem.  But I suspect that we’ll get used to this gadget just like we’ve gotten used to so many other things. I don’t even blink when I see people walking through the airport talking into those Bluetooth headsets.

To me, the real question is whether Google Glass could undermine the speaker’s credibility. After all, the very fact that people see you have the glasses on might raise the question of whether you’re speaking from your heart or from a script.

There is a wonderful scene in the movie “Broadcast News” where the news producer, played by Holly Hunter, is feeding questions during a live broadcast to the anchor, played by William Hurt.  Of course, the scene points out that the anchor is little more than a handsome face with an empty head.

I have been in many presentations where the speaker is hit with a hard question. Wouldn’t it be nice for him to have someone available to text the answer in front of his eyes instantly?

Or could anyone wearing Google Glass be suspected of having lines fed to them?

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, speech@speechworks.net or on the web at www.speechworks.net

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