I recently participated in two large-scale reading programs: one with a shared read across the state and another community-wide event. Both culminated in a live appearance by the author(s) so it was an interesting comparison as to how they approached their talk.

The first author gave what was presumably the same speech that he gives everywhere: sharing an overview of the book, telling the most interesting stories and hitting all the highlights. His lecture was accompanied by a gorgeous PowerPoint which was the only redeeming factor because everything he spoke of was in the book – and the vast majority of the audience was there because they had just read it.

The second set of authors correctly realized that the attendees would likely be very familiar with the book’s contents so instead of repeating it, they chose to sit around a table and informally give a short update about what has happened since they wrote it. After that, they spent the full 90 minutes answering questions and providing new insights and depth to the material, an approach that added to its understanding and entertainment value.

If you are asked to speak in front of a group, whether that be at a meeting, full-scale presentation or even sharing stories in your living room, pause to consider your audience before you utter a word. People will tune out if you’re not tuned in to what might be relevant to them.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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