Seriously. I had the chance recently to try out Google’s new gadget. The nice folks who were making it available to me had thoughtfully loaded Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on to it, knowing I was interested in speeches.
It was revelatory. I could give the speech, eyes on the audience, hands-free, while reading the text out of the corner of my right eye. It was clutter-free, liberating, and easy to do. It took me only a few minutes to get used to the technology as a prompting device.
Ten minutes in, I was forgetting Glass was on my head, so intuitive did the whole array feel.
Without breaking a sweat, we came up with five killer applications for public speakers. We just need someone to build them.
1. The Teleprompter. Whether you put your notes, a full text, or just cues for slides, you can have whatever you need in the way of support for your talk. The hands-free aspect is more important than you might think. Studies show that limiting gesture limits your thinking, so holding a clicker or note cards or a text will actually make you dumber. If you’re dumber, it’s harder to give a brilliant talk. Hands-free rules.
2. Fielding Audience Questions. It would be very easy to design an app that linked with people’s phones and computers so that they could send questions to your Glass screen. You could then review them and take them in any order you pleased.
3. Feedback Analysis. Taking audience participation one step further, how about an app that takes audience voting, analyzes it, and puts it instantly on your screen so that you can say, “45 percent of you believe that aliens walk among us, and the other 55 percent believe that they are themselves aliens.”
4. Slideware. No reason not to put your entire visual accompaniment to your talk – slides, video, etc – in thumbnail form on the Glass, so that you can cue up the next slide, add notes so that you can remember what to say, and so on.
5. Virtual Reality for Speech Phobics. My favorite idea that came out of the discussion was a virtual reality program for people who suffer from severe stage fright. You project an auditorium – a virtual reality auditorium – and put one virtual person in it. You get used to talking to that one person. You add a couple more. You get used to that. Pretty soon you’re talking to multitudes without fear.
I’m sure you can imagine many other uses for this technology. An hour playing with the Glass made me a believer. Don’t be too quick to buy into the mediocre press narrative Google Glass has been getting. Yes, privacy is an issue. But this is a transformative technology for public speakers. Let the apps start coming! What would you like to see on the Glass?