Sales or Public Speaking? Cater Your Message to the Audience

Marlon Brando as Mark Antony delivering the famous speech in the movie Julius Caesar. Image source: https://learnodo-newtonic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Marlon-Brando-as-Mark-Antony-delivering-the-famous-speech-in-the-movie-Julius-Caesar.jpeg
My buddy David Vandegrift, consultant-turned-entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist, recalled a conversation with a mentor who said it was an entrepreneur’s fault if the entrepreneur didn’t listen to his advice – “The Responsibility of Giving Good Advice”. David, however, believes it’s the advice giver’s fault if the message isn’t well-received. I agree with David.
While building Body Boss, I met with many investors and entrepreneurs. They all volunteered advice. However, no one had experience in what we were building. A few pieces of advice made sense looking back, but most didn’t at our stage – i.e. early partnerships or chasing funding.
In sales or public speaking, catering your message to the audience is paramount…
  • I remember confusing/ upsetting a coach while demoing Body Boss. We sat in a room with several coaches projecting Body Boss. We kept using “consulting language” to the point one of the coaches abruptly stopped us and told us he didn’t understand anything we said. We failed to speak their language. We course-corrected quickly and never made that mistake again.
  • Reaching way back, I remember how a graduation speech left me…apathetic. The speaker was a literary savant with reading and comprehension skills far beyond 98% of the class. When he gave his speech, it, too, was beyond 98% of the class + those in stands. Classmates tuned out, motioning to one another they had no idea what he was talking about. His graduation speech failed to leave any impression because he didn’t cater his message to the audience.

A good speaker knows his audience. He knows what resonates and will adjust his message to persuade and motivate his audience.

Though, I will concede it’s always up to the entrepreneur to decide what advice to listen to. At the end of the day, it’s his business. That’s another story…