It can go one of two ways. One great; one… not-so-great.
It begins with someone who appears to be a total stranger approaching you and opening conversation with, “
I saw you speak last year at XYZ conference…
” While the vast majority of people will at least be polite, anything other than “
I loved what you had to say about ___
” or at least “
You made me think about ____
” is a colossal FAIL for a speaker. You had the chance to leave a lasting impression that changed someone’s life and instead left… nothing.
I think the worst attendee reunion memory I’ve experienced was someone who confessed hearing me speak, but couldn’t remember when, where, or what I said. “
But I’m sure I liked it,
” she quickly added. Oh, I bet. You liked it so much that you cannot remember anything other than my face (and I’m pretty sure my face doesn’t leave a positive lasting impression!)
But this brings an important warning for speakers everywhere.
A speaker is remembered, simply because they were on the stage, on the clock, or on the hook at a meeting. People remember. But WHAT do they remember? Every time you speak, it's an opportunity for impact. Find the message the audience needs to hear. Figure out a way to make it memorable. And give it with all the gusto you can muster (as opposed to the gusto you