The Finnish way
Posted by Pia på torsdag 20 september 2007
Today I have been thinking about speaking in public. Finnish people may be good at many things, but speaking in public is not one of them. It all started in the morning when a group of 12-year-olds presented their class trip to the whole school. Every kid was supposed to speak and all had written down a few paragraphs, like this: ”We played football and went swimming. The water was cold”. One boy was nervous, thinking he would read something wrong out loud. I asked him if he couldn’t just say this without the paper. I mean, he had written it himself, he remembered that the water was cold. He looked at me as if I was mad. There was not a single kid who didn’t read off his/her notes. They were too afraid not to. And sadly, it doesn’t get much better with time. Later I went to a seminar about the future of EU and the first lecturer read straight off his uninspiring PowerPoint-presentation. He didn’t even look at his audience and didn’t enjoy it at all.
But then! Thomas Wallgren, a philosopher, showed up and talked about the EU from a global and philosophical point of view. His only aid was a severely wrinkled paper but he totally captured the audience. He said a lot of smart things and one was this: the EU has certain small institutions that work with environmental issues while many more work directly against them, like the ones pushing traffic and certain trade issues. The answers to my question that consider the environment are seriously pessimistic. But it’s hard not to be. On a national scale, it’s the same story by the way. There are decision makers working with the environment, while at the same time every single Finnish household is supposed to get a new electrical appliance (a digital box, that is usually turned on 24/7). Environmental issues should be considered in all decision making. And! Kids should learn to deliver good speeches. They are going to need to.