Have you ever been listening to someone justify an idea and while they were doing it, took a look around the room and thought to yourself, how can they not see how poorly this is going? I also imagine that rarely, if ever, you’ve taken that same look while you were talking and felt the panic and desperation of realizing that it was all falling short.
Now what’s more likely, that you’ve never lost a crowd or that maybe you just can’t tell either?
Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.
There is nothing worse than a chowder head who loses an audience and doesn’t realize it. What most of them do not realize is that the public speaking ‘circuit’ is based in a huge part on referrals. Service clubs are especially easy to get heaps of referrals if you are a good speaker.
For those not getting the referrals, this is the place to start.
Being overly attached to an idea is a problem. Pitching itself is a problem, particularly if you’re in the position of needing someone to wave a moneywand and make things right for you. If you don’t need it, and you’re collaborating as equals, it doesn’t matter if your ideas are imperfect.
I’ve sat in bars and heard salespeople pitch bar owners. Sitting in a bar between 2-4 while the vendors come in trying to get the bar owners excited about something is a fascinating experience. Can’t get enough because the bar owner holds all the cards.
Good post. But, er, what does the title have to do with that post?
To put yourself in someone else’s shoes and then look at what you’re saying.
That’s my best guess. it just hit me the title could be a mistake and i’m spending a second trying to figure it out ha
anyway, good post x
Have you ever heard been listening
ever heard been listening
Thought you might like the heads up.
Perhaps also, shoegazing?
By this I mean that the vast majority of those bands who shoegaze aren’t any good – and other than people not giving them gigs, they have no clue that the audience is lost or hates them.
Yeah I’m sure that’s it Tree Frog. Holy shit.
Wow are you kidding me that’s all I ever see is nobody understanding a thing I’m saying.
However my opinion is that it often just proves the stupidity of the crowd.
I think Henry Kissinger said it best when he said, “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used for foreign policy objectives” but that attitude applies to 99% of people: they are animal like beings who shouldn’t be considered anything more than animals to be manipulated.
I mean it’s annoying when you get smug people who think you are the one who is at fault for not getting your point across, but I always just know the day will come I will succeed and they will all be locked up in fucking cages with a collar around their neck like the animals they are, and then I will be the one laughing.
[I put 50/50 this is troll but I’ll take the bait]
On a practical level: How can you manipulate someone if she can’t understand wtf you’re talking about? You can’t; manipulation requires super clear communication.
On a philosophical level: Fix your delusion. You pretend to be a sociopath but sociopaths are effective human beings at getting what they want, whereas you are clearly an idiot with scorn for communication. Also, you have a very strange definition of success.
Another practical note: A collar is a device for attaching an animal to a leash. . . animals in cages do not require collars.
I bet you’re chubby too :-P.
Regarding the actual article:
Loosing a crowd sucks. It doesn’t have to be a room at a conference it can happen with 3 friends, or less. It sucks being with a girl in a coffeshop and realizing that you’re boring (her.)
Anyway… how do you prevent it??
1. (easy) notice when it happens
2. (hard) say something interesting, get their attention and keep it
I usually fail on #2 and just smash my hand on the table to get attention and the jack up the volume to keep it. A better strategy is to go out and do something interesting that you can talk about next time it happens.
I figure the shoes title is a reference to peoples habit to look away from the speaker (and to their shoes) when they lose interest in what the speaker is saying.
Ryan, may I ask what you made of Law 25: Re-Create Yourself in the 48 Laws of Power. Did you act on this advice in anyway?
No, it’s just a reference to looking at things from other people’s perspectives. Walking in their shoes…
Anyway, yeah of course. I try to think about the stuff from the laws all the time. I ended up going over the Law’s about not changing too much at once and filling other people’s shoes.
This first semester in college has exposed me to some incredibly intelligent and thoughtful students in professors, as well as content which has provided a genuine challenge for me to thoroughly understand. And as much as I love the learning, I have also quickly realized that when I don’t know the subject as well as I think, it really shows.
The degree of self-awareness you describe is something I am still trying to implement in my own life, but I suppose it is best to practice it now than find myself lost and looking more foolish than necessary in the real world.