I interviewed a lot of people for my last book.
From neighborhood moms to well-known personalities. Within minutes certain interviewees did something that made me immediately NOT want to continue talking with them. And, guaranteed they’d never make it into the book.
Interestingly, the higher profile they were, the more likely they were to do it. What was the thing that was so undesirable?
They stayed on message.
Every answer to every question was a rehearsed, bullet-pointed recitation of talking points from their latest book, DVD or presentation. I get why they did it. I get that it is completely appropriate in certain scenarios, especially when being interviewed for short, discrete broadcast segments, where there’s no time for anything else. But, here’s the problem. When you’re actually trying to go deeper
Staying religiously on message reads as boring, overly-“handled” and insincere.
Don’t believe me? Three words…
Al. Gore. 2000.
People, the good stuff—the thoughts, ideas, revelations and conversations that move mountains and change lives—rarely ever happens when you’re staying on message. Think about the most compelling moments in public conversation. They almost always occur when people go off-script. Because…
The magic happens when you’re willing to get real.
When you know your topic so well and believe in it so deeply, you are willing to let go and just speak from the heart. When you choose to speak not because someone’s given you a platform, but because you’ve actually got something to say.
That’s when people want to listen. That’s when people stand up and say, “lead the way.” That’s when legions of like minded individuals form communities and rally to your cause, while others line up to debate you. That’s where the juiciest conversations and most compelling moments come from. That’s the conversation I want to engage in, learn from and talk and write about.
And, it applies in nearly every aspect of life and business.
Stay always on message with your boyfriend, girlfriend partner or spouse and see what unfolds after months or years of refusing to go deeper. Keep repeating the same bullet points on blog after blog, post after post or book after book and your writing career won’t be very long lived. Stick religiously to the script every time you take the podium and you may wow them the first time or two, but then they’ll never come back. And, worse, they’ll stop telling others to come back.
Know what you believe in, then speak from the heart.
Be prepared with important ideas, concepts and points to discuss. Think deeply about how and why they’re important. Do your homework, anticipate every question and ponder how you’d answer them. Get ready to speak to those points. But, when it comes time to breath public life into them, try something new…
Go off script, then watch the world respond!
So, what do you think? Do you agree?
How do you feel when you speak with people who stay zealously on message 24-7?
Are they the ones who become lifelong friends and treasured advisors?
What am I missing?
Share your voice (and please try to stay on message, hehehe!)…
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