4 October 2008

Pesky Peston?

One of the points made in my books on presentation and speech-making is that, when it comes to assessing others, we’re all wired up in much the same way, and that it’s difficult to see how human communication could work at all if we weren't.

So I’ve been intrigued to find myself on the receiving end of 3 completely unsolicited complaints about the presentational peculiarities of Robert Peston, the BBC’s business editor.

The most outspoken one, which I’ve had to censor for publication purposes, went as like this: “As for that (expletives deleted) Robert Peston, all the training they must have poured into him still doesn’t make him any more coherent. I can do without the ‘y'knows’ and ‘errrrrrrrs’ and EMPHASIS where you're LEAST expectiiiiiing IT.”

Another said of him: ".. almost UNWATCHable as he seems to stress WORDS and syllables COMpletely at random without much regard for the meaning OF what he happens to be ON about – with similarly random upWARDS and downwards shifts IN intonation."

According to an article in the Daily Telegraph earlier this year (which you can inspect by clicking on the above title), he does at least seem to be aware that his “on-screen delivery lacks polish”.

But is that all? And does anyone else have any strong views on the matter?


Brian Jenner said...

I have to say I don't notice it on the radio. His blogs are brilliant, really punchy and informative.

I suggest he goes to a Toastmasters International club. They have an um and ah counter to pull up speakers who use verbal crutches.

Or maybe he needs to do the Alexander Technique to learn how to relax when he's on camera.

simonr said...

I always struggle with that suggestion I'm afraid. In seven years as a trainer I've never seen anyone cured of their urms and errs by having them counted at Toastmasters (or anywhere else!).

Pulling people up just makes 'em more self-conscious about their presentation habits, doesn't it? What people need is a technique for over-coming the issue, which is a bit different.

I suspect the gentleman in question has already had training! What he needs is a differetn style... :)

Richard Young said...

Delighted that Peston's weaknesses are being so expertly exposed. For poor presentation alone, the man must go - add in his rampant egomania, his sensationalism and his inability to explain complex ideas for a mass audience and I feel the need for one more credit crunch-related redundancy... Join me at http://robertpestonmustdie.blogspot.com/