Jim Tomsula spoke to the media Thursday afternoon, and reactions to his performance were not good. He seemed nervous at times, and he struggled at times to make his point, sometimes rambling.
While the press conference was going on, a follower of mine on Twitter chimed in with some interesting points about public speaking. Jarrett Wold spent four years of high school in speech, debate and Student Congress programs. He is now a computer programmer but still uses his public speaking tools. Obviously he is not a "noted expert", but I thought he made some excellent points. I asked him to put together a few thoughts on Tomsula as a public speaker. Here is what Jarrett had to say:
When I'm looking at inexperienced public speakers I'm looking for a couple of things. Generally how well they adhere to a topic, how far they stray from talking points and how effective they are at communicating complex ideas simply. Poor public speaking is very common; it's also a common fear. Tomsula was a poor public speaker in this instance. It was pretty clear they wanted him to touch on some (or a bunch of) talking points, and also very clear he didn't want to screw up. I mean how many times do you get announced as the head coach of a football team?
My frustration with some of the reaction to poor public speaking on Tomsula's part is that it's somehow a reflection on the man, his ability to coach or how to run a football team. It's not. We can infer nothing from Tomsula's inability to speak well thrown into the chaos that has been this team for the last couple of months. Given time, and experience he'll get used to it. Public speaking is like using a muscle group, you have to use it and frequently to get good at it. We cannot divine where this team will be by the beginning of preseason from one very intense, and chaotic moment from a man who has rarely been in the spotlight prior to today. He was interim coach for one day, but even that was always going to be a one-off event.
Now if we want to look at great public speakers who are horrible at what they do, turn on C-SPAN some day. Congress has fantastic public speaking, and an absolutely hideous track record at getting anything done. The only correct answer at this point, when I turn off the rage I have about Harbaugh and Co. being let go is, is that we simply don't have enough information to make a conclusive answer about the future of the team.