“I overheard something that bothered me a lot,” my client Amanda said. After a big breath, she continued, “I heard someone at my office say, ‘Amanda said some self-aggrandizing stuff in her speech today.”
A combination of sadness and panic came upon Amanda’s face.
“What did I do wrong?!” Amanda said.
“I’m not sure that you did anything wrong. How about I ask you a couple of questions?” I asked.
“Did you tell the truth?” I asked.
“Were you making an important point?”
“Did you talk about something you learned?”
“Did you show how you went from making a mistake to succeeding at something?”
Then Amanda’s facial expression changed, and she said, “Oh …”
“I don’t think that person heard my whole story.”
“Exactly!” I said, smiling.
In our discussion, I went onto point out:
- Sometimes, people don’t hear your whole story. They get stuck on one detail.
- Sometimes, several people will never align with what you’re talking about. And it’s necessary to acknowledge that fact.
- Sometimes, people don’t hear your whole story. They get stuck on a detail.
I’ve noticed something recently. Sometimes, people literally do not hear one crucial word. Just yesterday, my sweetheart made a comment, and a friend, Joe, did not smile at her humorous detail.
I noticed this, and said, “Oh. She just added a funny detail about valium.”
“Valium? Oh, I didn’t hear that,” Joe said.
Sometimes, people actually do not hear what you said. It can be a physical difficulty. Many of us have some form of damaged hearing due to loud music on mobile devices, concerts – and loud movie theaters.
Secondly, some people stop hearing you after one particular detail.
One of my clients, Wendy, told an audience of entrepreneurs that Bill Gates got a $50,000 loan from his father to buy an operating system that he renamed as MS-DOS. She discovered that many people tuned out because they felt that Bill Gates had been “born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”
So the truth is: In every audience, you are likely to find that some people never hear your whole story. They get stuck on one detail, and then hear nothing more of what you express.
- Sometimes, several people will never align with what you’re talking about. And it’s necessary to acknowledge that.
One of my mentors said, “If you even mention that you wrote a book, some people in the audience will take offense.”
“How?” I asked.
“Just by mentioning your book, to these particular individuals, you’re selling something. And it bothers them. A lot,” my mentor explained.
Ultimately, many of the top speakers in the world get to the point where they flow with the reality that they will always have people who miss the message they’re offering.
“30% will love you. 30% will hate you. And 30% couldn’t care less.” – Gabrielle Reece
I add to the above comment with: “Do what you do. Don’t let it stop you that 60% of the people may not be with you.”
For a speaker, it’s important to serve the 30% of the audience who are right there on the same page as you are. They ARE attentive. They want to learn.
* * * * * *
In recent weeks, my client Amanda has learned to set her own criteria for success.
She takes it in that when she gives a speech to 20 people and only two people have critical comments.
That’s 18 people out of 20 who gained value.
You can still practice different ways to reach as many people as possible.
For example, I have trained speakers to reach analytical people with a numbered list of methods. I’ve also guided them to have some friendly back-and-forth with audience members so that “relaters” (a personality style) can warm up to these speakers.
Avoid becoming obsessed that some people did not hear you.
Practice methods to reach a spectrum of people.
Express what you’ve learned.
Do not toss your light under a garbage can just because some people cannot relate to your journey of learning and success.
Again – be yourself.
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)