Extremes of opinion make a much greater impact on an audience
than taking a middle of the road stance in an effort to please
everyone. I've done over 2700 paid presentations and more no fee
talks than I care to remember. The one big thing I have learned
over the years is that the people that try to please everyone,
rarely move anyone to action.
I'm not saying to go out and try to offend people. I'm saying to
take a stance and be clear about it. Here's an example: I have no
problem saying in most presentations that I "hate" politics. I
think to be good at politics by definition you have to be two
faced. To be great at politics you have to be four faced. You
simply can't win an important election by clearly being in favor
or against an issue because you have to please both sides as much
as you can to win.
You might ask, "Tom how would you keep from being stoned off the
platform at a political rally?" My answer would be that I can't
imagine being hard up enough to accept a speech at a political
rally. You have to be able to say no when the audience is on the
opposite side of the fence from your value system. . . Of course,
if the money was good enough . . . hahahahaha just kidding.
What if the mayor was at one of my events? I would make sure I
knew about it and just keep my mouth shut about politics. I would
consider it stepping over the line to make it a point to
embarrass or single out someone at an event. In most cases you
are better off avoiding controversial topics like politics
OK I just talked about a topic to the negative. Now let's switch
to the positive. Audiences want to know what you really like. I
might say I "love" my new recumbent bicycle. Since Tom is
single I can get out on my bike and lose myself in the smell of
fresh cut fields on a deserted country road. I could go on and on
about how much I "love" my bike. I don't just say I enjoy
bicycling. I really let them know what I'm passionate about.
Use extremes of language and you will impact the audience much
more than by riding that bike down the middle of the road.
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