BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Buzz Aldrin - Space pioneer

BRAIN FOOD: Speaking out - Buzz Aldrin - Space pioneer - Buzz Aldrin, the guest of honour at the Institute of Directors' annual convention, looked dapper in his moon-and-stars tie. He was well introduced.

by Khalid Aziz, chairman of spoken communications specialist, TheAziz Corporation - www.azizcorp.com
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Buzz Aldrin, the guest of honour at the Institute of Directors' annual convention, looked dapper in his moon-and-stars tie. He was well introduced.

Three thousand sets of hairs rose on three thousand necks as we witnessed the thunderous, familiar yet inspiring footage of a Cape Canaveral blast-off. We were in the presence of history; Aldrin didn't disappoint.

Within 20 seconds he received a warm round of applause as he skilfully blended moon-walking, the centenaries of the IoD and heavier-than-air flight with a recollection of the Battle of Britain. True, he did wax lyrical: 'The magnificent desolation of the moon bathed in the soft glow of Earth hanging like a space flower.' But as he has actually been there, he can get away with it.

Aldrin's main theme was guaranteed to interest any business audience: the need to take risks. And he didn't flinch from confronting difficult areas. He talked about February's Columbia tragedy: 'But space travel is always dangerous.' And in life, he averred: 'No meaningful success comes without the opportunity to fail. The only obstacles are complacency and lack of clear commitment.' It was a convincing presentation. Aldrin walks the talk and is inspiring, despite a tendency to be orotund at times.

Key moment: The revelation that on the first manned descent to the moon, the astronauts had just a few seconds of fuel left as they tried to pick a safe landing spot in a field full of boulders.

Key lesson: Relate to your audience's experience as early as you can. That way you'll get them onside soonest.

Silver tongue.

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