Extraordinary Team Blog

Sustainable Living is Dying

Posted by Kristin Arnold on February 5, 2008

Coming to you from Philadelphia, PA, I am chaperoning my daughter (Marina)’s high school club at the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference. Mr. Bill Mansfield of the United Nations Environment Programme addressed the opening plenary session to 2,000 high school brainiacs…and lost them in the first two minutes.

Pity. He’s an older gentleman who just didn’t connect with his audience – admittedly, his staffers told him that he needed to “get on Facebook and MySpace.” Okay, so he got a slight laugh, and then went into Dilbert blah, blah, blah.

Mr. Mansfield was talking about one of the hottest topics for this generation – sustainable living. And he killed it. Literally. Let us recount the ways:

  1. The audience was HUGE. 2,000 people is a lot of people – especially without an IMAG.
  2. He read from a script. Boring!
  3. He spoke too far away from the lectern microphone, which made it hard to hear.
  4. He gave his standard stump speech, with a small reference to his aides in the beginning and then a reference to “you young people” in his call to action at the end.
  5. Blah, blah, blah, bureaucratic speak.
  6. At the end, he asked the audience to sharpen awareness, create an action plan with a timetable….all the things Al Gore asked the nation to do in the Inconvenient Truth.

Such a shame. Great topic. Dead speech.

Question: Are you connecting with your team?

  • Travis Arnold

    Hey Marina gets a mention– good to hear she is doing well. I remember when I went to my first youth conference and there was somebody famous amongst all of the adults in the room. So of course I was excited to hear the Speaker, A) because it was the first time I got to go to the conference and did not know how it would turn out and B) it was hyped up.
    Turns out the speaker was dull and boring and had zero bearing on my life. Thank goodness the rest of the presenters were much better or I wouldn’t have gone back. I think when organizations line up the presenters to talk to youth, or young adults what ever they call us now, it should be known who the audiance is , us.
    Furthermore they should make some effort to present the speech, even if it is their normal platform in a way that the target audience- the younger people in the crowd and actually engage us not have the adults laughing at some corny joke that no one aged 10-16 got.

    Good to here everything is going well.