Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Rule #1: Know Your Audience
Whatever you're communicating, you need to make the content relevant and interesting to your audience, first and foremost.
After attending an awards event last evening, I believe that this rule needs further clarification: you must also respect your audience.
It is only in the rarest of circumstances that an audience will wish you spoke longer. Therefore, be concise and to the point. Short speeches, I guarantee you, will be remembered as more entertaining than long ones no matter who you are. Even professional entertainers know this: "Leave them wanting more."
When you speak without notes, without preparation and to entertain and amuse yourself, you are not respecting your audience.
So, know who you're addressing, make the effort to connect with your audience, and show them respect by preparing and keeping it tight.
And, one last word on this subject, at risk of stating the obvious: remarks by outgoing presidents should be shorter than the remarks of the incoming president, and similarly, remarks introducing an award winner should be shorter than acceptance speeches. When these natural laws of speaking are inverted, audiences revolt.