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“Our audiences expect it that way.”
But honestly now, do they really?

The statement sounds as if it would be in service of the audience. But more often than not, it’s just an expression of fear.

The fear of rejection.

Because, well, what if they don’t like it the other way?

When I started to do things differently with my speaking some 20 years back, my colleagues in our working group were very worried about me. They kept reminding me that audiences would expect a more traditional way of presenting and that I was risking my reputation.

Turns out I wasn’t.
Neither did audiences expect a more traditional way.

A couple of things I frequently heard after a presentation:
“That was a refreshing way of presenting.”
“Finally, someone speaking plain English.”
“I loved the way that you spoke with us, not to us.”

No one had missed the boring bullet point galore of the traditional way.

In fact, never even once in my life have I met someone who would have preferred a boring presentation over a more entertaining one just because the boring would be more traditional.

Here’s what audiences really expect: They expect you to not waste their time.

Audiences are way more tolerant than you think regarding style.

What’s much more important is that

  • what you say is relevant and
  • how you say it resonates.

What I’ve learned is that the latter is much easier if you dare to be more “you” in the way you show up. But make sure that what you say is highly relevant.

Would love to hear your experiences with being you! How do you deal with the warning that “audiences expect it that way”?

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