November 8, 2013

There's a fine line between honesty and inspiration



I spoke with a client this week about the presentation he gives on real estate investing. He is clearly trying to persuade his audiences to invest, but at the same time, he doesn't want to deceive them into believing that it's a way to get rich quick, or that it's necessarily an easy process.

He knows that to lead them down the wrong path during his presentation will only lead them to disappointment and disillusionment later -- and not only will they suffer from their failures, his future business will suffer as well.

In my presentations on public speaking, I face the same challenge. I want my audiences to feel inspired and motivated, so that they'll make efforts to add more speaking engagements to their calendar, get more experience and build more confidence and enjoyment with the tools I've given them. But I don't want to give a false impression that becoming a great speaker is a quick and easy process. It takes work, dedication, willingness to face your fears and failures, and resiliency to bounce back when you've blown it. The rewards are great, but the road to get there isn't always smooth.

Many of us find ourselves in this tough position as speakers. We want and need to be honest with our audiences. We want to be authentic and straightforward about the challenges they'll face if they choose to take action. But ultimately, our goal is to get them to take that action, and for them to walk away with the feeling that success is attainable. You want them to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I find that one of the best ways to achieve this is to use success stories. All of us love a good rags-to-riches or failure-to-success story. When we hear the story of someone like us achieving this seemingly faraway goal, it makes it seem more real and more possible.

Sometimes the success story is my own, sometimes it's the story of a client, and sometimes it's just an inspiring story I've read. The key is to use a true story about a person your audience can identify with. The more like your audience the subject of the story is, the more they can imagine implementing your tools and tricks and making them work in their own lives.

Do you have a topic where you're balancing honesty and inspiration? Share in the comments how you make it work!

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