Hint: It ain’t about you!
Last week, with help from the great band Van Halen, you read about a key speaking idea – what audiences want from you; your perspective. This week, you’ll learn what audiences don’t want. The author is not a rock band, but he is a Rock Star – in the professional speaking and consulting worlds.
It’s written by Alan Weiss. Alan works with companies to increase their efficiency and improve their bottom line, sometimes to a significant level. He is the consultant many consultants seek, and a speaker than many speakers listen to and learn from.
This week, he tackles an idea which has long-bothered me, both as a financial planning professional and as a speaker. A foundational speaking concept I often ‘preach’ is to be totally focused on the needs of the audience, and not you. Alan’s brief post eloquently drives this point home. Enjoy….
Monday Morning Memo by Alan Weiss
Feb 1, 2016
I have alway eschewed the kind of honors that you pay for, e.g., one of the myriad, worthless Who’s Who books. I actually placed my dog, Trotsky, in one once. His check cleared the bank. Nevertheless, I have a couple of shelves full of awards. I guess I’ve earned some, but I’m always aware that there are those who are even more deserving who haven’t received them.
The current brouhaha over the Oscars is an example of too much focus on too little importance. I don’t doubt there’s racism (or ageism, or other isms) in Hollywood and elsewhere. But my experience is that the “best” movie, or actor, or song, or play (and Tony or Emmy or Grammy) seldom is. The honorifics in the field of speaking and consulting, I know first-hand, are political, accidental, and stochastic. That’s why I don’t string the 14 initials after my name I’m “entitled” to, because it places emphasis on a tiny, insulated group of people making very personal and often biased judgments.
I don’t want to be known by my initials or my awards. I want to be known by my behaviors and successes. After all, truly successful people don’t receive awards, they bestow awards, they have awards named after them.
All of you may, if you choose, proceed as DROAMMM (Distinguished Readers of Alan’s Monday Morning Memo). That, and two dollars, will get you on a bus.
Far too often, I’ve listened to speakers introduced with laudatory platitudes, and speeches filled with biographical highlights of that speaker. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s important that the audience knows your background so that you have credibility.
As Alan Weiss points out, this information is important only to the speaker – and the speaker’s Mom – until the audience understands that speakers understands their challenges, and has a unique perspective to overcome them.
Take it from Alan Weiss, the Rock Star – don’t lead with your story, or provide an ‘alphabet-soup’ of credentials. Only when you’ve connected by focusing on the benefits of your talk to your a audience should you then discuss your successes.
NOTE: If you’d like to read more of Alan’s wisdom – and become a full-fledged, card-carrying DROAMMM – sign up for his Monday Morning Memos at: http://www.contrarianconsulting.com/category/alans-monday-morning-memo/
Alan Weiss’s ‘Monday Morning Memo’ reprinted with permission
Alan Weiss, Summit Consulting
Copyright © 2016 Summit Consulting Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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