Monday, February 01, 2010
Public Speaking: Pick Your Audience
(Did he say "pick" my public speaking audiences?). Yes, I did say pick your audiences. Some of you may not have this luxury because you must do speaking as part of your job, but those of you that do, will move up faster in the speaking world. When you are a beginning public speaker it is important for you to experience different types of audiences just FOR the experience. As you climb the speaking ladder where the audiences are bigger, or more important to your career, and the stakes are higher, you must learn to just say no.
Most top speakers don't accept every request to speak even if they are available, and the money is right. They pick their engagements to put themselves in front of audiences whose profiles indicate the greatest chance of success. If you are a highly technical speaker, you would not want to be speaking to a widget sales group at their annual retreat. Conversely, as a really fun retreat facilitator, you would not want to be speaking to a group of radar technicians who are only interested in performance data of the latest missile protection system.
Avoid accepting engagements where the audiences needs are clearly out of sync with your abilities, likes and dislikes. Don't get me wrong. I want you to keep pushing your limits, but if your audience needs more than you can give --that's right -- you bombed. Although it will be a lesson learned, do yourself and everyone else a favor. Learn to just say no.
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