Why Only Some Speakers Succeed!
“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.” – Robert Greenleaf
From the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, the word “outlier” means (1) something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body, and (2) a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.
“Outliers” is a fascinating book examining why certain people succeed while others don’t. Gladwell’s findings will surprise you! Success is not achieved by what you may be thinking.
As I am reading “Outliers,” I started thinking of the outlier speakers. These are the speakers than never want for work even in a trying times. They mesmerize us from the stage, and from their videos and books. We will pay a premium to hear them speak. They have star power. What separates them from the “pack?” Read on to find out.
In “Outliers” Gladwell explains there are people who are naturals at whatever activity they are pursuing. However, if they don’t practice at a sufficient enough pace per week, they will never reach their full potential and will eventually be passed by those who, although not having natural ability, practice at a much higher tempo.
In fact, Gladwell studied this phenomenon and cites studies in “Outliers” that support the fact it takes about 10,000 hours practice in whatever the activity is to become one of the truly best in the world at the activity. These are the celebrated concert pianist, the basketball star or the world- renowned brain surgeon. Gladwell’s research and those of others seems to support the 10,000 hours hypothesis.
Applying this to speakers, how many hours have you practiced your speaking. Practice, in this sense, means hours practicing before your presentations and the hours you actually have been delivering presentations. If you added all these hours, how close would you be to 10,000 hours?
So, following Gladwell’s research, 10,000 hours seems to be required to become a world-class speaker, but it is not sufficient. 10,000 hours presenting material to your audience they don’t want and don’t need will not put you in the top class of speakers.
Knowing What the Audience Wants and Needs
Would you buy a car from a salesman that doesn’t first determine your requirements for the car? Of course not! Then why would you want to listen to a speaker that doesn’t understand your wants and needs? You wouldn’t.
Then why would you as a speaker attempt to talk to an audience before understanding what they want and what they need? If you do, you will never rise to the heights of the great speakers. Great speakers “have their finger on the pulse” of their audience. They know what their audience wants, they know what they need and they know how to deliver both
If you know what your audience wants and needs, you will have a successful presentation. If you don’t, you won’t and, more importantly, you will not be asked back. It takes approximately seven times the effort to win the business of a new customer as it takes to win more business from an existing customer. Which is less effort? Your existing customers are your core. Treat them as the royalty they are!
So, practicing 10,000 hours and giving your audience what they want and need will get you to passible speaker status. If you want to be a sought-after thought leader in your field, you must amaze and delight your audience. One great way to do this is to over deliver more than what your audience expects.
A sure way to delight your audience and be asked back by the event planner is to over deliver on your content. By over deliver, I mean give your audience tangible tools and actions they can take to improve their personal and professional lives the minute they walk out of the room.
The key to success in speaking is to give your audience much more in use value than the price of admission to your presentation. You want to thrill your audience and the event planner.
Not only can you over deliver in your presentation, you can give your audience a bonus at the end of your presentation.
This bonus can be a PDF copy of your recent book. It can be a free ½ hour consultation with you on the phone. It can be access to your free weekly newsletter. It can anything that is pertinent to your presentation and gives your audience tangible benefit relevant to why they came to your presentation in the first place.
So, now you know practicing 10,000 hours giving your audience what they want and need and amazing and delighting them by overdelivering more than what they expect will place you in the upper echelon of speakers.
Every great speaker started out as a not-so-great speaker. However, if you seek out speaking opportunities frequently and continuously improve on your last speaking performance, you will one day step into the elite group of speakers who delight, amaze and astound their audiences.
It is not a matter of if. It is a matter of when!
Call to Action
Speak as often as you can on your way to 10,000 hours of practice
For your next and all subsequent presentations, spend the required time to determine what your audience wants and needs
Delight, amaze and astound your audience in all future presentations by giving them more than they paid for
“A talk is a voyage with purpose and it must be charted. The man who starts out going nowhere, generally gets there.” – Dale Carnegie