This is being written after I sat through an excruciating seminar, thinking I was the only one who would have found pleasure in slitting my wrists, rather than sit through another hour listening to the esteemed and well-known keynote speaker go on and on.
At the break I eves-dropped.
Nope, I wasn't the only one who thought he made boring look intriguing.
It turns out there was a whole auditorium of people feeling bleak with disappointment.
I decided to do some research on the subject of "How to get to the point effectively."
Here's what I found.
Too much of anything becomes toxic.
Think of it this way, we all need oxygen, right?
However, too much can cause brain damage.
Most of us love chocolate. However, when wallowing in a vat of hot fudge, you'll yell out for a piece of celery.
This well known executive who ran a huge company and made tons of money had lots to say about running a huge company and making tons of money.
It fell on deaf ears.
Here's why: he spent way too much time bragging about how smart he is and how rich he is. He also did the big "no-no" and gossiped about people he worked with and especially about his competition.
He bounced from sugary speak to salty talk.
He sounded like a Miss America contestant from past years who, when asked what she wanted to see from her reign would say, "I just want world peace."
Then he would spin on a dime and start spewing out the "F-bomb" and calling his competitors "sons of bitches" without any facts to back-up what he said.
His reason for the speech?
To tell the audience of smart, creative types how much they could learn from him.
Except, he came from an era when rich and powerful was all that mattered.
Now, there is a yearning for something more.
Before I offer my three ways to captivate when you communicate, take a minute and think about who you know, who has done a great TED talk, who is a media personality you resonate with, someone you work with you would follow through the ring of fire.
I'd love to get your responses to that important question.
What makes a difference, I believe, is:
1. Balance between fact and emotion. Facts, without emotion, are cold as steel bars and emotion without facts are weak as cotton candy.
2. Balance between abstract and detailed. Vision is vital, yet without a plan to get from here to there it's only a dream that will stay in the ether.
3. Balance between ego and humility. Talking about personal success encourages, yet without being humble, it's off-putting.
Think about the next time you are asked to speak to a group, or to your team, or to a venture capitalist, or to your mother-in-law.
Before you utter a word, ask yourself what you want to accomplish from the conversation. Make this a daily practice. Think about how you create (yes YOU) a climate that is open, motivating, and inclusive for whoever you are talking with.
Ask yourself if, when you get feedback, either with smiles of appreciation, acknowledgement of ideas well stated, or challenges to your thoughts, ask yourself if you are willing to look again and rethink what you said and how you said it.
Then be willing to make appropriate changes.