Design, FAST COMPANY hammers, is bigger than just the look of whatever. It's our whole approach to what we have to get done. After all, we refer to campaigns we launch as "designing" them.
And what public speakers have to get done is to engage their audiences sufficiently so that they will take some action. That action could range from supporting Hillary for '16 to revamping how the over-50 hunt for jobs.
What too many public speakers ignore is the power of touch. They don't design that into their performance art. Since there are so many social and legal restrictions about touching others, it's not surprising that speakers tend to leave that out of their menu of tactics.
However, there's such a thing as the light touch. Politicos have that down to a science. When a state senator fired me in the 1970s, he lightly touched my back. The message, pre-Clinton of course, was: I feel your pain. At the very least, before and after their address, speakers can use their fingers to "swipe" themselves into the minds and hearts of those they are trying to influence - or heal.
Last week, reports can back to me from neighbors that the 90-year-old woman I had touched with my hand felt great comfort from my concern. She had returned from a stay in the hospital. Had I simply offered to run errands for her I probably wouldn't have made that kind of human contact. Sure, touch is a risk. But not taking that risk might be the greater risk for public speakers.