The Debt You Owe Your Audience

Tony Compton, Managing Director


The problem with the corporate groupthink approach to all of your company’s presentation and public speaking opportunities has gotten so bad that you’re now doing a disservice to all involved. Especially your audiences.

You’re supposed to help your employees develop their communication skills. Not hang them out to dry every time they step in front of an audience. That includes helping your marketers, salespeople, and your fellow executives. It also includes anybody and everybody who gets on the phone and interacts with customers. Those who lead company meetings. Those who have a voice.

Instead, your people are being shut out, shut down, and ignored.

Yet they’re the ones expected to deliver the desirable outcomes you want from any interaction with an audience: more leads, more qualified opportunities, more net-new business… Reinforced branding, messaging, positioning, and differentiation… Sales.

Yet how is that supposed to happen when the need to strengthen their communication skill set is ignored?

There are those who believe that employees are supposed to know how to communicate, present, and speak in public before they are employed at their company.

But then no effort is made to reinforce those skills once they’re on the team.

There are those who believe that a once-in-a-blue-moon two-day generic presentation training course addresses the need to support communication skills.

Perhaps. For two days. Maybe. If they’re lucky to get that. But then whatever is learned largely fades, if there was anything to be gained in the first place.

More, there are those who believe that only the C-Suite receives any presentation skills help at all – while the employed masses are left to figure it out on their own.

Throw them a PPT template and tell them to get back to work.

How do I know? Been there, seen it… 

If you balk at any of this, wake up. People’s Number One fear is speaking in public. (Or haven’t you heard?) Yet audiences endure the outcomes of your corporate groupthink that no attention needs to be paid to strengthening communication skills.

And while you’re more concerned with keywords, content, plans, funnels, text-heavy websites, color-correct company slides and homemade media, the audience suffers.

Now imagine…

You bought tickets to see your favorite team play. Doesn’t matter which sport. Game time is set for 7:00 pm. You spent your money. Allocated time. Looked forward to the event. Your team shows up but gets blown out.

In the post-game press conference the manager says the team wasn’t really ready to play. They had a long flight the night before. They had bad traffic on the way to the stadium. The weather is bad and some on the team aren’t feeling well. A few players didn’t feel the need to practice.

But thanks for spending your hard-earned money. See you next time!

The next night you bought tickets to a Broadway show. You have a 7:00 pm curtain to make. Again, you spent your money. BIG money. Allocated your time. The performance starts, but it isn’t very good. Some performers forget their lines. Others haven’t prepared their voices.

Backstage after the show, some of the actors say they give six performances a week and don’t care that this one was off. They, too, are having a bad day. They had bad traffic. They weren’t feeling up to performing. That they didn’t feel the need to practice.

Thanks again for spending your money. See you next time!

With empty pockets and time wasted, how willing would you be to accept any of those excuses? Yet you have the audacity to expect your audiences to accept less than what you could be giving them.

How do I know? I constantly see it…

I can give example after example. Either you get it or you don’t. And from what I’ve seen, you don’t. It’s the groupthink approach found so readily in your approach to marketing, to communication, to presentation and public speaking readiness.

In all fairness, neither of the two examples I cited would ever happen. No manager for any professional sports team would give those excuses. Broadway performers know that it doesn’t matter that they have given the same performance dozens of times. It’s a first for any new audience.

Yet you’re throwing your people out there – all the time – without a thought for those debts you owe your corporate audience.

Whether it’s you or your team going on-stage, on a webinar, on-camera, in a conference room, or to a trade show, you owe your audience:


An Experience.

The Best.

And you owe these to your audiences each and every time the opportunity presents itself.

I can’t imagine doing anything less.

It doesn’t matter that your sales people have given the same presentation 10 times this week. Or that it’s somebody else’s slides. Or they were traveling and got in late. Or are having a bad day.

Your audience deserves better than that.

Your audience doesn’t care about any of that.

But there are those who really believe that the desired business outcomes will magically appear without communication readiness.

Challenge them.


For more on Challenging the Status Quo of #Marketing Groupthink, follow me on Twitter: @tonycompton, @GettingPresence

For immediate #presentation & #publicspeaking tips, visit the GettingPresence website.