July 22, 2015 fm

If Then Else

I’m not a programmer, I’m not a hacker, I don’t even watch Bollywood movies. But – I do remember my computer class in 1991. Black screens, green letters, a humming sound – our computer room at grammar school.

Our math teacher, Mr. W, shows us the first steps in Pascal, a computer language more antique than the Great Sphinx of Giza. Right away I know that I’m not going to found another Apple or Microsoft. Programming is not my thing. Yet, one of those code structures makes complete sense to me – If Then Else.

IF incident A happens, THEN execute the following. ELSE (otherwise) execute B. How logical, how German – made for me.

If Then Else is pure logic, pure logos. So why not apply it to public speaking? Let’s see, here are seven examples.

Eye contact

IF you feel disconnected from speakers who don’t look at you,

THEN look them into their eyes when you are the speaker,

ELSE be disconnected.


IF you can use your hands to illustrate things and actions,

THEN use your hands to illustrate things and actions when you speak in public,

ELSE be the super glue of Angela Merkel.


IF you fall asleep after 45 seconds of listening to a monotonous voice,

THEN as a speaker, roar like a lion and whisper like the wind,

ELSE join the siesta.

IF you cannot process the information presented by a speaker who talks like an AK-47,

THEN pace down and place pauses when you speak,

ELSE talk without being understood.


IF you love to watch Hollywood blockbusters,

THEN when you speak in public, tell stories of heroes, challenges, struggles with twists and lessons learned,

ELSE face a sleeping audience.

IF Martin Luther King Jr’s I have a dream speech connects with you,

THEN speak more in first person narrative,

ELSE stay distant and disconnected.


IF slide presentations full of text and data bore you to death,

THEN complement your speeches with beautiful images, intriguing quotes, buzzwords and numbers, and other curiosity and suspense triggering visualizations,

ELSE cause death by PowerPoint.

Isn’t it pure logic?

Do you have more examples of If Then Else in communication? Share your If Then Else in the comments below or on Twitter using #ifthenelse.

Public speaking is an art, yes, but it’s a scientific art. Sometimes we should hail Data from Star Treck Next Generation and think more in If Then Else. He would understand you, for sure.

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