You’ve probably met a few of them.
They’re eloquent, they’re exuberant, they’re entertaining.
They are full of stories and examples. About themselves.
Off stage too, they know what’s important. Themselves.
They are the prototype inflated self-centric speakers.
And that is wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Because it is not about the speaker.
It’s about the audience, right?
Your stories and examples need be relatable.
Your expressiveness, energy, and enchantment should be tailored towards their needs, not yours.
This is what I learned at Toastmasters.
And it’s absolutely correct.
But it’s not enough.
He who pays the piper calls the tune
But in the world of professional speaking there is a next step.
Sometimes you don’t give the audience what they want. Or need.
Because the audience is not your client.
It’s your client who pays the bills.
It’s your client whose agenda you need to adhere to.
So suddenly you need to be client-centric.
I found out after concluding a keynote on cyber security with the message that security can be easy and cheap. But I was hired by an insurance company to speak for potential customers and this was not the message my client wanted.
Ever since that day I make absolutely sure that I know what my clients want to achieve with my presentation.
But wait! There is more!
Now you could choose to be that kind of speaker that just does whatever the client wants. But…
We want to change the world, right?
Make it a better place
Help our audiences become wiser, more adept, energised.
What is your cause?
If what your clients wants you to do conflicts with it, do you take the job?
I believe the best speaker are cause-centric.
They believe in something that is bigger than themselves and they stick with it.
All together now
Self-centric. Audience-centric. Client-centric. Cause-centric.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could be a bit of every one of them?
To thoroughly enjoy yourself, giving the audience and your client value, while staying true to your cause? I believe it’s possible.
Not always, but often.
In my example above I could have reframed my message to include insurance. As I do believe insurance is part of the solution, everybody would have been happy.
What are you most centered on?
(Depending on where you stand any answer might be good*)
*yes, even self-centric. That takes some explaining. Which I won’t do here 🙂
pics: Gert Altman. Clip: Monty Python