I had the opportunity to listen to a renowned speaker today. She’s an author. She’s been on the Today show. She gives talks all over the world. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why.

I don’t mean to sound flip or mean or overly critical. It was just that I found myself mentally listing all the things that weren’t working as she spoke. The anecdote without a conclusion. The constant asking for a show of hands which felt like an effort after the first two times. The lack of connection with the audience. The frozen expression.

I found myself wanting charisma and exuberance. Or deadpan humor. Or real, honest-to-God drama. Her message would have been so much more compelling if she had been feeling it as she spoke. I just kept waiting for it to get better or more convincing. It was kind of surreal.

I observe people very closely when they work a room and I’m also very tuned in to the reactions of the audience members. Perhaps I’m a bit spoiled. Every week at church I get to hear ministers who are top-notch speakers. Each has a different style but both are very effective and consistent. They have passion and expertise and they convey their message with sweet ease.

Man, I love that.