You’ve spent hours preparing your talk and there you are on stage in front of hundreds of people – sharing your message.
But… something unexpected and horrifying is happening.
Instead of smiling faces of appreciation, your audience is frowning.
Several people are leaning across to one another whispering while looking at you and shaking their heads in disgust; and a few have gotten up and walked out the door.
You’ve alienated your audience.
Thankfully we are only imagining this scenario– however I remember cringing when a colleague told me about a similar situation that occurred with a well-known business person at one of her speaking gigs.
Rather than inspire and empower people, she offended them.
She alienated her audience.
While being in a position where you walk away from a speaking gig with no subscribers, leads or clients is disappointing, walking away from giving your Signature Talk with no subscribers, leads or clients AND having to do some serious damage control to turn around your tarnished reputation – is far worse.
And the damage may not be confined to just your audience.
Considering that numerous people carry around their mobile devices with them and have 24/7 connectivity – many of them have probably also shared their disappointment across their social networks for the world to see.
It’s every speaker’s worst nightmare, and one I’m sure you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
So, how do you ensure you don’t find yourself in the same situation as this speaker did?
By researching three very important things:
1. The Event
- What is the theme of the event and who are the organizers?
- Do they have similar corporate values as you and does it align with your brand?
- What is the purpose of the event and does it align with your message and your mission?
These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before saying ‘Yes’, and agreeing to speak.
You may just find that the event and its purpose are quite different from your values and mission, and in some cases, the opposite of what you stand for.
And, if the event is different from your values and mission, the likelihood that your ideal client will be sitting in the audience is highly unlikely.
This leads me to the next thing you should consider.
2. The Audience
- Will the majority of the people attending the event align with the qualities and characteristics of your ideal client?
- Did they pay to attend the event, or not?
- What are their expectations?
If your goal with speaking is to grow your business by educating, empowering and enticing people to want to know more, answering the above questions is important.
Because if the audience is not your ideal client, it’ll be highly unlikely that they’ll be compelled to move forward in response to your call to action.
Which leads me to the next thing you should consider.
3. The Topic (Your Signature Talk)
- Does your topic align with the expectations of the event?
- Is your topic relevant to the needs and expectations of your audience?
- Are the examples and case studies relevant to your audience so that they can resonate and relate to them?
Answering the above questions is also going to ensure that you don’t offend and/or alienate your audience, unlike the speaker I mentioned earlier.
She didn’t consider any of these things and used her Signature Talk she’d created for women in business.
Had she done her research, she would have realized that many of the people in the audience were not entrepreneurs and women in business.
They were either unemployed or single mothers who were struggling to keep their heads about water.
The event organizers wanted to offer attendees support and inspiration to give them hope that they they could turn their situations around.
However, what ended up happening was the audience couldn’t relate to the information or examples the speaker used.
Rather than inspire and empower them, it made them feel far worse about the situation they were in.
The words of encouragement the speaker used didn’t inspire or empower, it made them feel that their situation was even more hopeless because none of them had any idea how to start a business, and a few of the examples the speaker used involved spending money, which they didn’t have.
So, everything that normally empowered and inspired her audience in this situation had the opposite effect, because the words and the examples she used didn’t connect or engage with the audience.
It ended up disconnecting and enraging the audience.
Had this speaker done some research and answered the above questions, she would have saved herself a lot of heartache and would not have found herself having to salvage her reputation.
So, BEFORE you say ‘Yes’ to that speaking gig, do your research to ensure it’s the best opportunity for you and whether you need to tweak your Signature Talk, your examples, and your call to action.
I’ve made it easy for you by putting together my free Pre-Speaking Checklist. In it I have over 30 questions you should consider BEFORE you agree and say ‘Yes’ to speak, so that you don’t alienate your audience.
You can grab your copy by clicking here
To your speaking success and brilliance.
YOUR SAY: Have a story about a similar situation? Perhaps you were in the audience and could tell the speaker didn’t do their homework? Did they alienate their audience? Or perhaps this has happened to you? Go ahead and share. It’s wonderful to be able to learn and grow your speaking skills by sharing and reading other people’s experiences.
Check out the following relevant articles:
- The Power of Storytelling in your Signature Talk
- Speaking to Grow Your Business: A Common Mistake
- Speaking to Grow Your Business: 3 Tools You Must Have in Place
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