Lesson from Marissa Mayer’s Commencement Speech
In an exciting move, Yahoo just appointed 37-year old Google powerhouse Marissa Mayer as its new CEO.
As a speech coach, I’m curious about her speaking style. I watched her 2009 commencement speech at the Illinois Institute of Technology:
The speech contains all the right ingredients: three personal stories, insightful and direct advice, personal communication with the audience, etc. And yet I felt the speech fell a bit flat.
Mayer doesn’t connect with the people in the room.
It is very difficult – though possible – to read from a script and also connect to the audience.
One way to overcome the challenge of reading from a text is by varying your pace.
Mayer rushes through the speech – rarely stopping to slow down and pause to let her words sink in.
By varying her tempo appropriately – and inserting a few meaningful pauses – she could begin to overcome the obstacle of reading from her text.
From the Green Room: Pause purposefully. Pausing builds expectation and gives the listener time to digest your words. Most of all, pausing raises your status. If you can command silence, you will command your audience’s full attention.