I recently went to one of the largest conferences I ever attended. On the opening day, the opening keynote speaker presented for about half an hour in front of at least 8,000 people. He spoke about his company and about a product that was key to that company’s future. For the entire time. At least I think it was for the entire time because about 20 minutes into it I left the room to take a phone call that I would normally have sent to voicemail.
When people give you their time, you have an obligation to deliver value.
Like the other people in the audience who had invested 4 figures and several days of their time to attend this conference, I was looking for value. Considering my investment, I was looking for “what’s in this for me” and what I got was a long advertisement. Whether you literally have the podium as this individual did, or figuratively have the podium, as you do with social media, you are asking people to give something up to listen to you. Attention is a very scarce currency.
That’s not to say that someone’s story about how they accomplished something isn’t of interest if it inspires or educates others. Sometimes your story is the best way to help others. But your story can’t be “look at how great my product is.”
If your content is great, the audience will make sure they find out more about you. If it isn’t, talking more about yourself is counterproductive.
I read a blog post today that I thought was unique, fascinating and helpful. It was filled with research and ideas and insights that I could use. When I finished reading it, you know what my reaction was? I said to myself, “Who is this guy?” I then read his bio, connected with him on Twitter and subscribed to his blog.
If the content you are producing or your keynote speech leaves people wondering, “Who is this person?” then you have spent the perfect amount of time talking about yourself. Even if you have enlightened people by telling your own story, there will be an urgent desire to learn more about you.
The most effective way of moving people is for them to have the idea and the motivation on their own.
It’s a lofty goal to create content that makes people want to know more about you, but this is the highest test of your ability to win followers and influence people. In a noisy, marketing-filled world, people are not susceptible to being pushed to take action. The only strategy that wins is to share yourself in a way that makes them want to follow you.