August 26, 2010

If nothing else, be original

I was browsing a public speaking coach's Facebook page today (no, you don't know her). Now, to be fair, I haven't heard her speak, so I don't know what kind of material she delivers to an audience. But post after post on Facebook was a quote or article written by someone else -- some of them overused clich├ęs and some even erroneous. I started to wonder if she had any ideas of her own.

It's true that there aren't many new ideas out there, and most of us are repeating a lot of the same information, just in a different way. But that's the key: In a different way.

When you simply quote others and repeat their words, you're not saying anything new AND you're not saying it in a new way. I see this on Twitter all the time: Stream after stream of pithy quote after pithy quote. This tells me nothing about the person. They just come across as a mimic.

If you are going to say the same thing everyone else says, in their voice or in their words, why bother? You aren't going to stand out. You aren't going to be memorable. You aren't going to make an impact on your audience, so why waste their time and your own?

What is your own unique point of view? Everybody has one. Each of us has our own stories and experiences that inform how we see the world. That's what audiences want to hear.

If you're afraid to be different or rock the boat, get over it. If you don't want to stand out, then you should quit public speaking right now, because there's no room for speakers who blend in with the crowd and repeat someone else's material. Audiences don't appreciate giving up their time (and sometimes money) to listen to regurgitated, boring content.

Be original or get off the stage.

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5 comments. Please add yours! :

Rich Hopkins said...

Well, great. I was about to write a similar post - now what do I do? :)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

LOL -- You're funny. :-)

Diane said...

Now I feel like I should delete half my face book.

Diane said...

BTW that was original!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I've got a bunch of comedians reading my blog! ;-)

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