Bosses 'turned on' by public speakers

PR professionals shaping up bosses for the conference circuit need to worry about the content of their speech – as most of the audience will be too busy fantasising about sex.

The finding, from a survey of 200 business leaders, may reassure the majority of corporate orators, as most admit to being scared of making mistakes in front of a large audience.

In fact, almost half of bosses cited public speaking as the most daunting aspect of their job, with one in three fearful of repeating a Freudian slip they’ve made in the past.

Failure to convey their message, not being able to answer questions and losing their train of thought are the biggest worries for corporate speakers, despite their successful careers.

“It is worrying that so many of them fear communication,” said Professor Khalid Aziz, chairman of The Aziz Corporation, which commissioned the research.

“Executives often rise through the ranks as a result of technical expertise and so can find themselves misplaced to deal with communications issues, preferring the more behind-the-scenes number crunching, to the fame of a public persona.

“Clearly good public speaking requires practice and those in business are not born with that.”

Despite bosses’ fears that scrutiny of them or their speech could result in embarrassment for their company, a majority of the audience will not be paying full attention, the research claims.

Almost 70% of business leaders said that they typically spend at least part of their time in the audience thinking about whether or not they are attracted to the speaker or a fellow audience member.

This steamy group includes the six out of ten business types who admitted to “habitually” daydreaming about sex.

According to the survey, 76 per cent of men let their minds turn to sex during business presentations, compared with only 35 per cent of women.

Surprisingly, it was the older generation who emerged as the likeliest to get hot under the collar, given 88 per cent of respondents aged 60 or over had sexual thoughts during presentations.


29th May 2007

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