Professional speakers have to change – including the cruise ship speakers.
The old grey mare ain’t what she used to be = things are not the way they used to be
Audiences are changing. Millennials. The Me-generation. The people in the chairs are different now than they use to be.
It used to be that a speaker could get up and weave a good story and attendees would listen attentively. Not so any more.
I spoke not long ago in Phoenix to a large group of web designers, ALL of whom had their laptops with them, opened and with a LIVE wi-fi connection. My first task was to get them to look away from their screens.
Not long ago, okay maybe it was long ago but it doesn’t feel so because I have a lot of years, listeners were content to sit passively, listen to a monologue, a lecture, a diatribe, a rant … or watch a panel solve the world’s problems … more likely fight over what they perceive them to be. Not any more.
Speakers used to be the center of attention, the entertainer, the expert and the listeners were expected to absorb bits, pieces, globs of wisdom imparted by the guy upstairs, er, up on the stage.
Not any more. Listeners can now check facts instantly and question the authority of the speaker and may often know more and have more experience than the speaker but doesn’t have the years or the experience.
Audiences are now the center of attention. It’s not about the expert but about the learner. The audience is thinking “why should I care? make it relevant or I am going back to my laptop/smartphone.”
If the speaker doesn’t understand this shift, s/he may still get up on stage … but they are not likely to be invited back.