Educator Daphne Koller recently gave a TED talk that contained the following contrasting quotes:
Firstly, from Mark Twain,
College is a place where a professor’s lecture notes go straight to the students’ lecture notes, without passing through the brains of either.
And then this from Plutarch,
The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.
These quotes describe the difference between giving information that no-one cares about and getting your audience excited about what you’re sharing.
Whether you’re a business leader, preacher, teacher, salesman, blogger, coach, parent or any other person who has to communicate messages, this is an important distinction.
You could just give information, show some charts, tell people how much you know about a subject, use big words and talk for 30 minutes. Blah, blah, blah!
Some people even kid themselves that if they use a PowerPoint presentation, then it will automatically be interesting.
But if the message doesn’t resonate and people aren’t changed by the experience, then you’ve just wasted everyone’s time, including your own.
Alternatively, you can tell fascinating stories, be energetic with your body language, be contagious in your level of enthusiasm, ask intelligent questions, practice your delivery beforehand and give your audience a call to action that’s persuasive, compelling and inspirational.
Whatever your context is, if your audience walks away unchanged, it’s your responsibility.
And if they walk away ready for action, that’s also because of your skill as a communicator.
If your message is important enough (and I’m guessing that it is), don’t waste it by boring people, use it to get them excited.
Don’t fill them with information, light them on fire with enthusiasm!
That’s how the world gets changed!
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