Don’t forget or confuse your purpose

One of the most common mistakes we make is that we forget what we’re trying to do. Most people can identify with that moment when you find yourself peering into your guest room closet or turning on the light by the hot water boiler, and you have no recollection as to why you ventured there in the first place.

In the case of public speaking and presenting, it’s safe to say that this is our purpose: we want to help an audience make a decision or a prediction that is best for them, not for us.

In order to help our listeners make the decision that is best for them, we must put aside our own needs to win favor, impress, or bend facts to suit our interests. Because if we don’t (put those needs aside) we will sooner or later flunk the smell test, and end up on the odorous heap of people not to be trusted. In public speaking and presenting, influencing an audience is completely different from misleading people.

Let’s remember what we are trying to do: Get them to do what is best for them. Do that consistently, and over the long haul, things will work out fine.

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