Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are You Wasting Your Audience's Time?

You've got such an amazing story. You survived a plane crash! You cut off your own arm to escape certain death trapped in the Utah mountains! Maybe you even started a computer company out of your garage and became a multi-zillionaire!


"But, but, I'm a celebrity! But, but, I did something really cool and unusual! But, but, people hire me because they want to hear me speak about it all!"


"But, but, I'm a great speaker, I use the stage, make eye contact, and get laughs!"

So. Freaking. What?

Yes, you can get hired with a good story. You might even get hired a lot. People may even love you, and talk about meeting you, and Facebook a picture of you standing next to them...or at least a cutout of you.

It isn't enough. 

If you don't tell your story in such a way as to change at least a portion of your audience in some way, you're wasting their time. Change what?

Their opinion.
Their mindset. 
Their actions.

You don't have to change them from one position to another, necessarily. Maybe you are reinforcing them in the concept, changing the intensity of their present belief. But they must Think, Feel, and Do differently, or at least have been given the opportunity to do so, when they leave your presentation.

How did you FEEL differently about life after your plane crash? How can I FEEL that way without getting into a plane crash myself? Why is it important I FEEL this way?

What changed your THINKing so you could cut off your own arm? I'm probably never going to deal with this, so how can this change of THINKing work for me? How does it affect my life?

You were lucky - lots of people start companies and fail miserably. What did you DO that set you apart, that I can also DO, even if I trim trees instead of build computers?

They may clap. They may smile and shake your hand and tell you how awesome and funny you were. But what's next? When you find it, you'll be spending your audience's time wisely, and yours, as you Speak & Deliver.

Need help finding your message? E-mail me at Rich@RichHopkins.com, and we'll find it together!


  1. Do Something Different...absolutely! Great post. It really isn't about YOU (or me) it is about the audience. Each individual in the audience. Give that person...yes, that one in the 4th seat from the left in the 3rd row...something he or she can use.

  2. Do Something Different - sounds like a great mantra or blog :) Thanks for checking in, Michael!

  3. Oh somebody is ranty today - I like it. Oh and amen to that - if you don't have something to say that has impact - sit down.

  4. Ranty is good, right? Came directly out of a coaching session over the weekend, ironically enough...

  5. "So Freakin' What?" I love it! Great post Rich!

    My take:
    Without the "WHY" your story is nothing more than an hour of distraction for your audience. Entertainment at best. If I wanted entertainment, I would have stayed home in my sweats and t-shirt lying on my couch and my 100+ channels of reality TV, thank you very much.
    Tell Your Story, but give me something I can use, challenge me, don't waste my time!



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