Know Why You’re Speaking In the First Place
Here’s an important idea about your speaking objective: have one!
It was the spring of 2010 and I was sitting in a large conference room, listening to one of the keynote speakers.
The speaker stepped on the stage and took us back to her childhood, recounting sexual abuse. From there, she moved into her teen years when she had difficulty making friends and had an issue with drugs. As she confided in us, we, as an audience, began to sympathize. I was quite impressed that she had the courage to stand before us and share these very personal stories and I was curious to hear where she was going with all of it.
As she continued recounting the difficult periods of her life, her drug addiction, her time in rehab, a failed marriage and financial ruin, you could sense the audience was getting weary of the never-ending flow of grief coming from the stage. I knew we were all good and ready for this talk to move on to the victorious ending that brought it all together in a happy-ever-after conclusion.
After speaking for twenty minutes about her grueling misery, her personal testimonial got to her bankruptcy and that was how she ended her talk. There was no happy ending. There was no evident ending at all. There was no point, no lesson, and no advice in her speech. There was nothing! It was like a movie that just stops in the middle without resolving anything.
Unfortunately, this person had been through more than anyone should have to endure, and she most likely had tremendous wisdom that she derived from all those challenges. How many lessons were in there that she didn’t share with her audience?
I do feel compassion for this woman and all she’s been through. I still honor her courage to share her trials with the world, and I’m sure that her motives were positive. It’s just unfortunate that she would go through all that and leave her audience with absolutely no lesson of value.
When you speak, know what you’re there to accomplish and prepare your talk, your speech or your presentation in order to accomplish your goal.
So, what’s the lesson? When you speak, have a goal. Know why you’re there.
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