This enormous outdoor ad has gone up at Sydney Airport - excuse the photo quality, Blackberry shots always look like they’ve been taken through a stocking mask.
I love the confidence of its claim: THOUSANDS OF MEN CAN’T BE WRONG.
Now, leaving aside the bogus nature of the product itself, you have to wonder: have they ever read a history book? Or watched the news? Or even met an actual man? My experience, as a man, is that we’re wrong quite a lot, though we’ll deny it. And when we get together in large groups, the scope for wrongness is really wide.
Bomb Pearl Harbor? Communism? Change the recipe of the world’s most popular cola? Sure, let’s go for it! We couldn’t all be wrong.
Lesson for presenters: if you only use one bullet point, make sure it’s not ridiculously untrue.
The Advanced Medical Institute, however, is a flag-bearer for one of the great modern trends - no matter what your problem, there’s a medical solution.
It’s a wonder it’s taken this long for a specific pill-based answer to everyone’s favorite phobia: public speaking.
The folks at ‘Deephaven Neutraceuticals’ have come up with Bravina (geddit?), a not-yet-evaluated-by-the-FDA blend of nine secret herbs and spices. There’s Motherwort, St John’s Wort, Valerian Root and a range of other ingredients with a strong whiff of Macbeth witch cauldron about them.
The web site has an interactive Do You Have Speech Anxiety? quiz that will tell you that yes, you do have speech anxiety, and yes, you need Bravina.
There is one interesting fact on the Bravina quiz: fear of public speaking is called glassophobia. I didn’t know that. I thought it was the fear of having your face shredded at 3am in a bad Irish-themed pub.
I’ve no idea whether Bravina works. If any nervous presenters have tried it, please let us know how you went.
The concern with the pill-based approach is if presenters use it as a substitute for old-fashioned methods like making the content more interesting. So we end up with happy, glassy-eyed presenters delivering mildly anaesthetized material.
So the presenter, in turn, acts as audience Xanax.
* Not verified by anyone other than the manufacturer.