Yesterday I had the distinct priviledge of attending the commencement ceremony for my buddy Loc's daughter Thuy as she received her Dr. of Pharmacology degree from the University of Southern Nevada along with 83 more of her classmates. Thuy has worked really hard over the past 3 years to earn her diploma and when Loc asked me to attend her ceremony, I couldn't say no.
And I was surprised to see the name of the commencement speaker and pretty intrigued too because I recognized the speaker's name- Dr. Stephen Covey immediately. Stephen Covey's the guy that wrote
7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which according to his webpage, is the #1 most influential business book of the twentieth century. I haven't read the book or any of the others he has written, but I knew who the guy was so I was expecting an interesting commencement speech.
Dr. Covey might be a competant writer of books but his ability to give a speech is terrible! He had 4 major points to make, which he counted off on his fingers repeatedly but when he tried to expound on his major points, he rambled all over the place. He bragged about famous people that he has met and worked with, dropped names as if we needed to be impressed, wandered off topic completely talking about Native American talking stick communication methods and finally spent 5 minutes simply reading quotations from other people without even trying to tie them into the context of his major points! He insisted that everyone in the room needed to go home immediately and as a family, write a Family Mission Statement that everyone could buy into and respect! We learned about his training of diplomats to use the Talking Stick and how Madeline Albright commended him for his ability to get disparate groups to negotiate while using this technique.
As for his message to the graduates- he barely recognized them at all! He practically ignored the graduates, barely acknowledging their accomplishments, offering no encouragement except that they write their Mission Statements. He offered then nothing more than a recommendation that they buy his books or sign up for his online classes and networking site! It was really terrible.
If Steven Covey had given that speech in a USAF NCO training course, he would have failed. He was off topic, disconnected, his supporting points didn't support his main points and he missed addressing his principle audience. What a disappointment!
The rest of the commencement was very nice and the lunch with Loc and his family afterwards was a real treat.