I don’t know if Google Glass is going to change the world. But it might change the way that we give presentations.
Google Glass is the cool new computer gadget that, when it’s finally available, will be worn like a pair of glasses. It will have a camera to take pictures. It will also have a small video screen that can display text and photos to the person wearing the device.
If you go to the Google Glass website, you will see a demonstration of how the device can be used to take photos, make movies, send text messages, get driving directions and even call up pictures of friends.
The device is raising safety and privacy concerns. According to a New York Times story, West Virginia lawmakers have tried to ban the gadget from use while driving. A Seattle bar has pre-emptively banned the device because of fears that the ease of taking photos will invade patrons’ privacy. And much of Las Vegas is apparently terrified. With Google Glass, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas.
But as a public speaking coach, I wonder if Google Glass could help us be better speakers.
One of the worst things you can do as a speaker is read your speech. It makes you look stiff and unprepared. Reading also prevents you from connecting with the audience through eye contact.
Could Google Glass be used as a teleprompter?
But what if Google Glass could allow your notes to float invisibly in front of your eyes? You might be able to read the speech without your audience knowing that you’re reading. That’s what a teleprompter does. And that’s how news anchors and politicians are able to maintain perfect eye contact and remember everything they need to say. They’re really just reading their notes on a teleprompter while making eye contact.
I have many clients that use teleprompters when delivering important speeches, especially when speaking with shareholders.
They spend a great deal of money hiring teleprompter companies to help them. And then they hire firms like mine to help them learn to read the teleprompter scripts in a way that seems natural.
Is the day coming when CEOs of Fortune 500 companies ditch the teleprompters for Google Glasses?
Will Google Glass interfere with the connection between the speaker and the listener?
Saturday Night Live last weekend did a hilarious sketch that made fun of how awkward and strange the glasses seem. But I suspect that we’ll get used to this gadget just like we’ve gotten used to so many other things. I don’t even blink when I see people walking through the airport talking into those Bluetooth headsets.
To me, the real question is whether Google Glass could undermine the speaker’s credibility. After all, the very fact that people see you have the glasses on might raise the question of whether you’re speaking from your heart or from a script.
There is a wonderful scene in the movie Broadcast News where the news producer, played by Holly Hunter, is feeding questions during a live broadcast to the anchor, played by William Hurt. The scene points out that the anchor is little more than a handsome face with an empty head.
I have been in many presentations where the speaker is hit with a hard question. Wouldn’t it be nice for him to have someone available to text the answer in front of his eyes instantly?
Or could anyone wearing Google Glass be suspected of having lines fed to them?