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  • George Torok, speech coach, presentation skills training
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    Business Speaker is a Thief

    How would you like that to be the news headline after your next business speech? Business speakers and companies need to be more aware of what intellectual property they might be stealing.

    Sometimes good people steal without realizing it - especially intellectual property. However ignorance has never been a valid legal nor ethical defense. Of course stupidity and arrogance are not acceptable arguments either.

    At a public conference I witnessed a corporate business speaker as she clearly used copywrited music and video in her presentation (popular music, TV theme song, video commercials, main stream movies). She used so many clips from so many sources that I cannot imagine how she obtained permission. And at no time did she allay the concerns of her audience by stating that she had obtained permission to use this copywrited material in her presentation. At no time did she state, "Used with the permission of "

    I can only assume that this business speaker was a thief. She took something that wasn't hers, didn't get permission, didn't pay for it, and didn't acknowledge the source. On top of that she did it with that haughty corporate executive superior 'can't touch this' attitude. Have you noticed how some corporate executives act as if they are above the law?

    Some might suggest that the theft of intellectual property doesn't hurt anyone.
    Tell that to authors.
    Tell that to patent holders.
    Tell that to artists.
    Tell that to inventors.

    Yes, I know that in corporate meetings managers and executives get away with pirating cartoons and images in their PowerPoint presentations. It's still theft. I wonder how those corporate executives would feel about entrepreneurs stealing their intellectual property.

    The irony about this speaker was that she was speaking to a public meeting of entrepreneurs. She warned entrepreneurs that corporate purchasing departments would steal their designs if they could. She warned the entrepreneurs to protect their Intellectual Property.

    Yet while warning about the illegal and unethical behavior of her corporate colleagues, she was demonstrating her own blatant theft in her presentation. I don't believe this speaker was stupid. She appeared intelligent and educated. She expressed an understanding of the value of Intellectual Property; therefore she could not profess ignorance. Her manner conveyed arrogance - in that Conrad Black divine entitlement way. So I can only conclude that she was a thief - a blatant and arrogant thief.

    Curious that this business speaker had told me how excited she was that she was now writing and speaking for a professional association. Most professional associations claim a code of ethics. I wonder if that association was aware of the unethical practice of one of its newest writers and speakers. I wonder if this business speaker would recognize herself when reading this article.

    Don't let this be the headline after your next presentation. "Business Speaker is a Thief."

    Don't be an intellectual property thief.

    PS: No I will not tell you who this speaker is.
    PPS: Yes, if you are this speaker and you call me to ask if I mean you - I will tell you.

    © George Torok is The Speech Coach for Executives. He helps business leaders deliver million dollar presentations - without stealing. Arrange for Executive Speech Coaching or presentation skills training at http://www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com Register for your free presentation skills tips at http://www.Torok.com For media interviews call 905-335-1997

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