I hate to sound like a motivational speaker, but it’s true: enthusiasm grabs attention.
After watching 2 ICON14 videos, enthusiasm was the only difference that I could immediately see between these two family-oriented small businessmen.
The first speaker’s information was fine, the family pictures were cute, and there was nothing wrong with his obvious desire to educate his audience. He even wore an orange shirt, so that should have captured attention. What was missing? Besides the slightly sleep-inducing voice, there was no immediate connection between his family stories and the lesson. In the first 10 minutes, all he’s said is that (a) he’s building his business for his family, (b) his grandmother read a lot, and (c) YouTube videos are an important method of communication.
The second speaker looks like a former street entrepreneur, but he has a vigorous voice that captures attention, and he’s obviously done a lot of presentations. In the first 5 minutes, he barrels through the presentation outline (‘what I’m going to cover’) and another meeting, the reason why he worked with Infusionsoft and then got frustrated (the problem), his business (the solution), and his family. In fact, his family was available to help him hand out attention-grabbing gifts. You know where he’s going and why – and he’s not afraid to challenge his audience to do better at the Pursuit of Truth. Grow! Learn!
The second difference between the speakers, that I only saw after watching their presentations, was this: clarity. I wasn’t sure what point Ammon Curtis wanted to make. Brad told stories to make a point, and he illustrated his points with tangibility: physical gifts, the physical presence of his family, an Indiana Jones video clip.
While it’s still a popular idea in speaking circles, that ‘all you need is (attitude, confidence, etc), the truth is that business owners need more than a positive outlook to keep their businesses going. People do not show up at your office door and then stay, because you’re such a positive person. You also have to accomplish something, do something, follow through. Enthusiasm is just a good start. Follow enthusiasm with something real that people need – they’ll keep going down the road with you.
However, the opposite is true; your message needs to capture people’s attention. If you’re depending on the strength and stability of your great message to see you through, people may not ever get warmed up enough to go through the process. If you have a good business, be confident about it – know that people need it. If you’re not sure, think about whether or not you’re doing what’s important – to you or to your audience.
My 2015 goal: turn mediocre writing into re-readable writing. That’s it. All of the task lists are just ways to get there. What are your goals for the New Year?