Teaching as MarketingSeth Godin wrote an excellent post on his blog about communication through speeches or talk. He writes about the dynamics of speech: “Speech is both linear and unpaceable. You can’t skip around and you can’t speed it up. When the speaker covers something you know, you are bored. When he quickly covers something you don’t understand, you are lost.” This is both the advantage and the challenge of speech.
A speech has always been a platform to sell ideas, but we often forget that and just drone on presenting what perhaps is important to us (often the audience can’t tell) without regard to our listeners. Godin adds, “If marketing is the art of spreading ideas, then teaching is a kind of marketing. And teaching to groups verbally is broken, perhaps beyond repair. Consumers of information won’t stand for it. We’re learning less every time we are confronted with this technique, because we’ve been spoiled by the remote control and the web.”
Godin suggests, “If you teach—teach anything—I think you need to start by acknowledging that there’s a need to sell your ideas emotionally. So you need to use whatever tools are available to you—an evocative PowerPoint image, say, or a truly impassioned speech.” Speech isn’t broken; we just don’t take the time to do it well. A well crafted speech has the potential to cut through the clutter and hold your attention more intimately than nearly any other form of communication.
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