What difference does a good speech make?
Alternatively, ‘what difference does caring make?’. It is that primal.
What conscientious professional wouldn’t be mortified at the suggestion they don’t care about their work? Who among us wouldn’t be righteously indignant, defensive, appalled at the very suggestion?
And yet that is exactly the impression we can often give when it comes to how we talk about what we do. That it just doesn’t matter enough to us. Here’s the rub – if we get the sense it doesn’t matter to you, how can it possibly matter to us?
This is something we feel within moments of a speaker opening their mouths. Right from the very start we become acutely, grudgingly aware of what else we could and should be doing with our valuable time. And today more than ever people place enormous value on their time.
So any seeming lack of intent is an open invitation to disengage. I’ve yet to see an audience refuse it. Cue the curse of modern day presentations – the dreaded digital distraction (‘DDD’ as it would no doubt be tagged in corporate speak. Tip #1 – use acronyms sparingly, they have a unique capacity to discombobulate, and who wants that on a Monday morning)
If you want to witness an exercise in soul-shrinking futility, observe large groups of human beings assemble with the express purpose of listening to fellow human beings speak about stuff that’s ostensibly relevant and important – and then observe how quickly they bury their heads in mobile devices in a communal two fingers to their friends and colleagues.
If this painful (and patent) display of disinterest were to be verbalised, it would sound like this – ‘bla bla bla whatever’.
Even more remarkably, observe them as they shuffle out mumbling ‘great job’ to the very person they’ve assiduously ignored for the past 45 minutes (Tip #2 – wherever possible, try following TED’s 18 minute max rule, they’ll love you for it. )
I’ve witnessed it a lot recently. At events where it really, really shouldn’t be happening. Like an annual gathering of senior managers from global offices discussing imminent and seismic shifts in strategy and staffing.
It is a crushing experience. And it really doesn’t have to be that way.
How has this become the norm? I’m suggesting in large part it is because speakers struggle to impart a sense right the very start that this matters. All the polish and poise in the world won’t carry you if this is missing.
So, what difference does a good speech make? The world of difference.
It is never just a check-list of information. There is a point to it that I can relate to and be motivated by. If I feel cared for and thought about, I will walk many miles with you.
In essence, our work is all about helping you make that difference. So (Tip #3) – make it matter!