Whenever we’re asked to speak, write, or give any sort of address, we have the chance to create a deep, meaningful connection. The possibility exists for us to open a dialogue that has a profound impact for years to come. Or, unfortunately, we can kill it altogether.
It’s an honor to be asked to share our expertise. That means someone, somewhere, values something we’ve done or said in the past.
Most people fail to consider that with the honor comes a great deal of respect. Respect you must show your audience. Many of us, when preparing to address an audience, do a great job preparing material and executing on the delivery. However, we get in such a rush to create the most beautiful presentation, a quirky and funny keynote, the most flawless essay, or the most aesthetically pleasing document that in doing so, we fail to consider the most important thing – the audience. We become hyper-focused on “me” and how we think the audience is going to react to “me.”
Remember, it’s not about you.
We share our message and answers, assuming they are the answer for our audience. But we rarely know our audience. In turn, we deliver a message centered on “me” and full of assumptions. Often incorrect assumptions. Instead, make part of your prep time research time. Get to know your audience. Asking questions can go a long way.
An unfortunate choice of words or a message that goes off on a weird tangent is almost impossible to take back. We frequently fall into this trap because we are always in such a hurry. I’m sure there are many you’d love to go back in time and take back. That impression is left on your audience forever.
Most often, you can avoid this by slowing down and getting to know your audience well before crafting your message and choosing your words. The result is addressing and answering to help your audience, not you.
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