Showing posts from January, 2008

Never Mind the Videocamera: Advice for Presenters

I’m not going to name any names (see ”Name the sin...” at but from time to time I see books and articles about presentation skills that recommend you practice with a video camera. Sounds like a sensible idea but in my experience it frequently causes more problems than it solves.

The problem is that there are roughly two categories of people who need help with their presentation or speaking skills. The first group includes the competent, confident speakers who are good but want to get better. Typically these people have no issues with self confidence but they need technical advice and maybe some objective critiques. These are the people who can safely video their own practice sessions.

But many people I meet who are looking for help with their presentation skills are far from reaching that level. They are the people who have very little experience of speaking and even less self confidence. In this case the t…

The Adventure of Scotland Yard in Pakistan, and Why it is not Hopeless

A team of investigators from Britain’s “Scotland Yard” was invited by the Pakistan government last week to help investigate the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Media reports suggest that their role will be to provide technical expertise not available locally. Mazhra Zaidi of the BBC Urdu language service also added “... a major question to be answered is how much co-operation the British detectives will get from the various police and intelligence organizations in Pakistan, some of whose members may be far from inclined to want to work with foreign police”, according to the transcript “Scotland Yard's Pakistan casebook “ at

Of course they will be “far from inclined”, and rightly so. You don’t need to be an expert in communications or team dynamics to know that any team will resent the intrusion of a group of foreign “experts” sent in to tell the poor natives how to do things properly. Added to that are the complications caus…