When you know…you know

By June 11, 2017 Onsite Action

Recently, I attended a meeting with the most dynamic speakers I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard a LOT of speakers). They were so good that, even though the topic was not exactly my cup of tea, they each made me laugh out loud, brought the proverbial tear to my eye and motivated me to want to join them in their work. They were so good that I stopped thinking about anything else (how long their speeches were, how thirsty I was, you name it).

I turned to one of my colleagues and said, ‘They must have used a speech coach.” To which she replied, “I’m pretty sure they didn’t use one.”

“They had to! They’re too good.”

“Nope,” she held her ground. “They’re this good because they know what they’re talking about. Deep, deep down inside.”

And she was right.

Michael Dell is great at talking about Dell products. He IS Dell. But, I bet he wouldn’t do quite as well if he was talking about the intricacies of driving a fire truck.

Yes, you need to be comfortable standing in front of people and you need to understand the basics of oratory. But great speakers are indeed great because they know their topic, they believe in it, they’ve lived it — they are it. Their blood literally pumps their topic through their bodies along with the hemoglobin: it’s that integrated.

Think about the difference between someone asking you for information about something you kind of know about, but aren’t fully in line with versus someone asking you about something that you are passionate about and that you understand completely. What is the difference in your answer? I’m guessing one answer is timid, full of ummms, generalizations and ‘you know’s. And the other is complete, rotund, full of detail, stories and actual information.

So…armed with this knowledge, let me ask you some questions.

Scenario #1: You have specific content that must get delivered to your audience

When choosing speakers, do you:

A. Pick high-level execs and ask them to deliver this content?

B. Pick the people within your organization that know that content best?

Scenario #2: You have specific high-level execs that you need to get in front of your audience

When choosing speakers, do you:

A. Tell these high-level execs what to talk about?

B. Ask them what’s important to them and let them speak about their passions?

In case you couldn’t tell, I’d go with ‘B’ both times. Deeply conected speaker, deeply connected audience. And that’s the goal. Right? So your audience can’t, and doesn’t even want to, think of anything else.

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