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The dishonesty of paid speaking

Something’s wrong in the professional speaking world and it’s paying to speak.

There’s a significant number of large scale events where many of the speakers in the lineup pay to speak on the big stage.

In and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with this. Businesses pay to get in front of people all the time. It’s basically an advertisement.

Like with other forms of hidden promotions, the problem is when it’s intransparent.

If you buy your speaking slot, say so. If you’re the organizer of such an event, say who paid to speak and who got paid by you to speak. If you’re sitting in the audience, demand transparency.

It’s a simple rule that applies to any kind of advertising.

Just be transparent!

Who is “us”?

This week, I’m asking one simple but important question each day for you to ponder (on your own or with your team):

When a customer reads your “about us” page, would they come to the conclusion that they are included in “us”?

Your marketing agency’s words

This week, I’m asking one simple but important question each day for you to ponder (on your own or with your team):

When you read out loud the words that your marketing agency came up with, how does it feel? How would you say it in your own words?

Aligned on a common path

This week, I’m asking one simple but important question each day for you to ponder (on your own or with your team):

As a CEO, it’s important that you find simple answers to all of these four questions about your business:

  • What you do
  • For whom you do it
  • Why you do it
  • How you do it

Now, if you asked every member on your team for their answer, how many different answers would you get?

Would they still buy?

This week, I’m asking one simple but important question each day for you to ponder (on your own or with your team):

If you told your customers the full truth about your product, would they still buy? What do you need to change so that you can tell the full truth?

Their brilliance

This week, I’m asking one simple but important question each day for you to ponder (on your own or with your team):

Good communicators know how to surface their brilliance. But how can you make your audience feel brilliant?

Are you willing to compromise?

A word of caution: You’re never going to find focus if you’re not willing to compromise.

Focusing means making decisions and dismissing many paths in order to get farther on the one path.

Leaders who master focus understand that by sticking to their focus they won’t always make the perfect decision. Instead they bet on things to be better overall and in the long run.

By not having to make this decision at each single crossing they can confidently walk their path, knowing that they’ll miss out on some beautiful landscapes but being certain that they’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view that not many have enjoyed before.

Sorry, first ideas are sold out

I’m sorry to have to inform you that first ideas have already been taken.

Not that first ideas had ever been a good deal (except for maybe in the very early days).

First ideas are almost never the best ideas, in part because first ideas tend to be the obvious ideas. It’s very likely that if it’s your first idea then it’s other people’s first idea, too.

First ideas are what you get without digging deep.

Thanks to AI that means game over. AI will generate first ideas not only faster but better (as it can tap into all the first ideas that all the other people have previously given). Quite likely, AI’s first ideas will be much better than yours.

It’s the move beyond the first idea that remains hard. That’s where AI still needs guidance and where the will to dig deeper pays off most.

Digging deeper is where you can still make a difference.

It’s how you say what you say

There’s this never ending battle between two camps:

In the left corner we have team WOW who insists that it’s mainly how you say something because crappy ideas beat brilliant ideas when they are communicated better. (Which, indeed, frequently happens.)

In the right corner we have team AHA who insists that it’s mainly what you say because there’s no “how” without a “what”. (Which is true but also the reason for why team AHA frequently loses.)

Great communicators don’t really care for this battle, though. It’s obviously pointless to have a relevant message when your audience can’t see the relevance. It’s just as pointless (but more profitable) to have a message that’s awesome but which the product can’t deliver on.

Therefore it’s both. It’s how we say what we say. We need highly relevant messages (the what) that resonate deeply (the how).

Work rigorously towards this goal and results will follow.

Making the complex feel simple

Rule no. 1 in communication is brutal: If they didn’t get it, they didn’t get it. That’s why great communicators take full responsibility for the impact that their communication makes. They look tirelessly for clearer ways to say what they have to say.

But the Curse of Knowledge is a tough opponent. It’s that strange phenomenon that the more you know about something, the harder it gets to speak about that thing in simple terms. So, how do you overcome that? How can you find simple words to explain your idea when it matters most?

I’m hosting a live event on May, 23rd to help you find answers. You’ll learn how to:
– find beautifully simple explanations for complex ideas,
– understand and speak your audience’s language,
– make them see what you see.

Where others confuse their audience, leaders who master clarity make us feel genius because their words let us see clearly what was foggy before.

We’ll look at how some of the world’s best brands and finest leaders use beautifully simple words to craft super compelling messages that lead to action. Most importantly there will be plenty of time for Q&A so that you can ask me anything that’s specific to your situation.

Register here (it’s free): https://michaelgerharz.com/live

Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz



Yes, I love talking to you. Call me at +49.2241.8997777
Or reach out at michael@michaelgerharz.com