Last week I received an email from a speaker that we’ll call “Ken” (obviously not his real name). After a few tips and quotes about public speaking, Ken had a very nice looking coupon. The coupon had attractive fonts, good use of color and even had a professionally taken picture of Ken. But the thing that caught my attention was the large text that read “all services 80% off.”
Why do so many speakers insist on using their audience as a form of group therapy for their own personal issues? I’ve seen speakers (including those that were paid to give their talk) use their presentation (I don’t dare call it training) to enact revenge, guilt the audience into cheering for them and to get things off their chests. Why?
Giving a speech is not about you – it’s about the audience. Someone has invited you to share your knowledge, wisdom or experience to their audience. They’re not interested in hearing about the guy that flipped you off in traffic, the cab driver that ran four lights on your trip from the airport or something idiotic that your Senator did (unless that’s the purpose of your speech).
I once overheard a conversation where someone was communicating negative feedback. The only thing was the person giving the feedback allegedly wasn’t the one who felt that way – he had overheard someone else and wanted to share the criticism with the person it was directed towards. The person who received the feedback, which was a bit on the harsh side, replied back with “she’s my friend, she’d never say something like that about me or anyone else.”
Today is one of my favorite holidays here in the United States – a day we celebrate our independence. Rwanda and the Philippines also celebrate their independence today and a number of nations have similar holidays throughout July.
Although most people in the US will spend today at barbeques and possibly check out parades and fireworks, it’s a great time to take a look at your life and think about freedom. Do you appreciate the freedom that you do have? Do you lack some of the freedom you desire? In addition to tyrannical governments, there are other things out there that can eat away at our freedom. A bad employer or boss from hell can certainly make you feel like a prisoner. As can an unhealthy relationship whether it be a spouse, significant other or family member. Even certain friendships can rob you of freedom.