January 27, 2012

How is a speaker like a cinnamon roll cake?

Kathy Shields' cinnamon roll cake at Savoy Cafe
Yesterday I met a friend for an afternoon treat at one of my favorite Santa Barbara eateries: Savoy Cafe and Deli. Hubby and I have known the owners, Paul and Kathy Shields, for many years, and we love to support our friends and local businesses. (Stay tuned, by the way, for an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, where you'll see me and my husband eating a meal at Savoy on camera!)

As I stepped up to the counter, Kathy saw me and invited me into the kitchen to show me her fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon roll cake. We chatted for a bit as she cut a slice and put it on a plate for Paul. She told me that she always cuts out a piece from a fresh cake before she puts it into the case, so the customers can see what's inside. It seems that customers are more likely to purchase a piece from an already-cut cake rather than a whole one. The interesting things one learns from trial and error in business!

It made me think (of course) of what we do as speakers. Audiences (our customers) also seem to prefer a speaker with a piece cut out in order to get a glimpse of our "insides."

When a speaker is too perfect, it's more difficult for the audience to relate to them and their message. But when a speaker shows some vulnerability, some imperfection, the audience realizes we're human, too. And if we can do it (whatever "it" may be), they can do it, too.

Are you a speaker who obsesses about being perfect, or are you a speaker who values connection over perfection?

And the cinnamon roll cake? It was as good as it looked!

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