I’ve heard that spending 10 minutes in front of the right audience can do more for your career than 20 years behind a desk. I’m not sure how you would prove this, but my instincts tell me it’s true.
My corporate clients get it. They know that expertise alone isn’t enough. Yes, you must be able to communicate your message to others with a voice that makes them sit up and listen. Yes, it’s easier to communicate your message—whether to a group or in a one-on-one sales pitch—when you have the tools, preparation and confidence.
But there’s something else, and it often gets overlooked. You have to have something to say.
No, not a script or bullet points, but something to say. Something that’s authentically you.
Relaxing in front of a television or playing video games is fine recreation, but if that’s all you do after work it’s no wonder you have nothing to say. One of my clients once told me: My life is not that interesting. Why would anyone want to hear what I have to say?
Turns out he did have hobbies that were interesting. He just wasn’t comfortable talking about himself. I asked him to stand up and tell me about some of his travels and athletic pursuits. Slowly, he began to enjoy telling stories from his experiences. He soon came to realize that these stories could be purposefully crafted to make a point in a presentation or to gain someone’s interest in his business topic.
So, if you’re in the recliner/TV/cold beverage after-work slump, how do you emerge? Here’s an idea. Choose one hobby or activity that you used to enjoy. Revisit it. Spend some time with it. Find others who enjoy it. See if that old love affair with it is rekindled.
Volunteer at your church or synagogue. Read books. Join a networking group. Visit the elderly. Create a list of activities you would like to do one day. Next to each, write just one small step you could take toward making that happen. Expose yourself to a new kind of music or learn to dance. Train for a half-marathon. Challenge yourself to do something different.
Just get off the couch. Not only will this make you a more interesting communicator, but your mental abilities may improve, your health may be enhanced, and, who knows? You might just lose some weight!
And you’ll have something to say.