As you might expect for someone who heads up a think-tank, Mark Goyder has ideas in his head. The trouble is, as with so many clever people, he has great difficulty in getting those ideas out. So an audience of about 100 of the UK's top personnel people gathered in Paris for the two-day human resources summit were treated to a keynote speech where the key failed to turn in the lock.
He had a good theme - he invited the audience to think forward to the year 2010 and ask: 'What happened to HR?' He tried out a device we often recommend to clients - hit the audience with some stunning headlines.
He even tried a bit of gimmickry - why not sting the headlines with the music from the old News at Ten? A great idea if the music is cued in correctly, but one that falls as flat as the euro if it isn't.
Not to worry, Goyder is a bouncy chap with bags of enthusiasm. He leapt off the podium and came among us. But it's a fine line between enthusiasm and aggression, and on our table the consensus was that Goyder came across as a little threatening. Back on the podium and he got on with it. And on and on with it. It could have been so much better. He had some good lines - 'Today's peacocks are tomorrow's feather dusters' was the most memorable - but it just wasn't sufficiently well organised or rehearsed.
All around, in the rococo splendour of the Salon d'Opera at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel, were life-size statues of the Muses. Sadly, they had left Mark Goyder that night.
Key moment: The suggestion that in 10 years' time even CEOs of major public companies will job-share.
Key lesson: Enthusiasm is no substitute for planning.
Silver tongue or foot in mouth?