I get the opportunity to watch and listen to fabulous speakers. Some I watch live, some recorded (I “waste” my downtime watching TED videos), and when I watch these speakers – Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, Scott Brinker, just as examples – I see people who are outstanding storytellers and whose stories all lead to and support the point of their talks.
In the past two days, sitting at very large conference, I got to listen to two different keynotes. Two individuals were given the stage in front of 5000 people – to make a point, to inspire, to teach. What ensued from each was a 45 minute verbal jigsaw puzzle. Each had stories to highlight their experiences, but even though the stories may have been slightly related to the conference, they had no unifying string or theme. It was left to us in the audience to figure out what they meant, how to tie it together, and how to relate it to our experiences.