My daughter is taking a public speaking class at college, and she called home to talk with me about an assignment she had. She was to talk about the worst public speaker she’d ever heard. She reminded me about the tour guide at one of the colleges she visited during her junior year of high school.
We had a hard time imagining why this individual was selected to represent her school to prospective students and their families. She didn’t seem particularly excited to be with us…or at the college. Unlike most college tour guides who have mastered walking backward so they can stay 100 percent connected with their audience, this young woman barely looked at us at all as she talked—whether walking around the campus or standing inside a lecture hall.
We got her unintended message loud and clear: “I could care less about being here speaking with you.” Her delivery had no passion, in fact, no emotion at all. When I tried to help the tour guide by asking if students were happy at the school, she mumbled (while looking down at her toes), “Yeah, I guess so.” We didn’t stick around for the end of the tour, and my daughter crossed this college off her list of potential schools. The school never had a chance after the tour or, rather, after the tour guide.