Do your messages have impact?

If asked to spend just a moment or two looking back on your past, would you be able to identify – to pinpoint one or two events that profoundly altered your life path?  Your career? When you think back, do you recall whether or not you actually realized the importance of that event – that decision – in the moment?

Naturally, we don’t always recognize the opportunity at the time – it is not until much later that we are able – with hindsight – to discern how impactful a moment was for us.  My professional speaking career has one of those stories anchoring it.

Imagine for a moment that you have been directed to deliver…

A speech you didn’t write

A presentation you didn’t create

And a message that is so important that the outcome could make or break Not just your career, but …. The likelihood of your friends and colleagues going home safely each and every day.

Now imagine that the folks who form the audience for this presentation are a reluctant bunch who don’t actually want to listen to you.  They have, in fact, turned away your previous colleagues – including the individual who wrote this particular speech.

That, ladies and gentleman, was my first and at the time, scariest moment as a speaker – there was a lot on the line.  A lot riding on my ability to convey a compelling message which would produce a positive response.

As I walked into the room – meeting those politicians with their arms held across their bellies.  I realized they didn’t want to watch my picture show – or hear the standard presentation – they needed to FEEL the weight of the decision they would need to make and they needed to appreciate WHO they were making those decisions for.  The presentation needed to be personal.  Real, raw and relevant!

That was then, and this is now…..

These days, I am as much an author as I am a speaker.  In May, I took a gamble and released my first foray into writing fiction.  Not just for the joy of fiction (although that is no doubt part of the exercise), but rather to share my stage messages in a way that readers would be entertained as much as educated.  And, hopefully, find a way to personalize the message.


Because I realize that our attention spans are shrinking and our apathy is increasing.

accidental-audience-faith-woodIf I thought I was afraid the first time I spoke, imagine how frightened I have been writing a fiction book for the first time and releasing it to a new audience.  Will they understand?  Will they enjoy it?  Will they recommend it?

We’re living in a period of time that is witnessing new trends unfolding at blinding speed, all related to the evolution of knowledge.  For every speech or book we write, how long is it before our recommendations – our ideas – become obsolete?

It has been said that from 1900 – 1950, all the world’s accessible knowledge doubled.   By 2010 it was doubling every 6 years and by 2020, it is projected that it will double every 38 minutes.  So let me ask you … how important will your ability to connect with others be by then?

Our World has a lot of problems.  To fix them, we are going to need to rely on those individuals who have the capacity to shift minds through their ability to convey messages in a noisy world – Not hiding out in the lab, but OUT in the REAL world.

Will we be ready?

Will we be caught up (accidentally)  in someone else’s audience or will we take a gamble and nurture our own path?

I would love you to ponder your next message, your next introduction,  whether it’s a tweet, or a memo, or a bedtime story, a proposal for venture capital funding, or a love-letter.  Whatever it is, don’t just communicate.  Don’t just try to be remembered and heard….grab your audience’s attention and help them fall in love with your ideas.