Addressing an Audience: Tips for Beginners…
Recently, I took my precious wife Hande with me to a live broadcast that I was invited to. The reason why I wanted my wife by my side is her wonderful ability to criticize me without any restraint.
I think since the New Year, I have been trying to shed a light on certain problems by giving the same examples in my speeches. For those who have been following my work for a long time, this might seem, in a sense, like repeating yourself over and over again. For my family and close friends, it might even be quite boring. That’s why I insisted that Mrs. Alkin accompany me to the broadcast, for she is a person who always says the right thing at the right time.
When we got in the car right after the show, she told me: “You were great as usual, but you better not use certain examples anymore.” Then she asked me, “You’re not angry, are you?” Being an egoless man, I could never be angry at her. I also could perfectly understand that this person, who loves me very much, was warning me for my own good.
I thought about what she said and realized that the reason why I’m using the same examples is because I have been getting the same questions over and over again, such as:
– What are your predictions about the dollar, gold, interest rates, and the stock market?
-Is it wise to buy real estate now?
-What about the future of cryptocurrencies?
-Is it wise to take out a loan now?
-What will happen after the elections?
These questions never change. I’ve been giving conferences since I was 30 years old, and since then everyone has been asking me more or less the same questions. I feel depressed when the answers I’m giving to these questions and the anecdotes I’ve been telling to people begin to repeat themselves. But some examples I use give such a clear message that trying to use another instead of them seems to me like replacing an artwork in the museum with an irrelevant substitute.
After all, every form of expression is unique, but sometimes it might be the one who produces these expressions that needs self-renewal. When we try to alter a clear, easy-to-understand expression or example, it loses its originally intended purpose. For this reason, instead of altering my answers, I decided to use an altering method that will hopefully prevent people from asking me the same old questions.
First of all, the world or the universe is not as precise as pure mathematics. According to Laplace’s demon, if we know the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe, then their past and future values for any given time can be calculated from the laws of classical mechanics.
That’s what we have been taught for years, but today I see that it’s not quite right. Nothing is certain in the universe, hence the birth of quantum mechanics. The reason why I am telling you all this is that instead of getting fed up with the absurdity of receiving the same questions and bending over backwards to provide different answers each time, it might be best to modify the question before or while it is being asked. For example, if I know or feel that someone is about to ask me, “Shall I buy a house?”, I will stop them and make them ask, “How can I make the most of my money?” instead. Not an easy method, but it’s worth a try.
We all evolve over time. Therefore, instead of giving different answers to the same questions every time, I think that both the person asking and answering the question should try to keep up with this evolution. Often times, those asking questions know the answer, but they need confirmation from someone else. Their satisfaction with the answer depends on whether they can get that confirmation or not.
Few people welcome answers that drive them to question the ideas they have in their minds. I always feel thankful when there are so many of such people in a room. Because they can also come up with comments that help me question my own ideas.
“Don’t Fall in The Popularity Trap…”
When addressing an audience, logical reasoning and the logic itself should never be confused. Although creativity is free and limitless activity by nature, one needs discipline and consistency to connect ideas that seem to be unconnected. Never forget that when you are invited to an event or gathering as a speaker, it’s your responsibility to speak the truth, not to persuade the audience to agree with your ideas. All you need are facts and data.
When commenting on future expectations, you should know that the intentions of decision-makers, their words and actions create the future reality. For this reason, you are responsible for telling the possible scenarios without being caught between probability and hope. Your worth and value will also increase when you start to voice the facts with a form of expression that you feel good about.
Whatever decision makers focus on is what will grow and flourish. Therefore, it is not possible for decision makers to expect improvement in matters that they ignore. You need to take this particular point into account this when making forecasts about economic parameters or social developments.
When you use your unique way of self-expression to address different audiences frequently, it is quite natural that some of your ideas become classics over time. It shows that they are being passed on from one generation to the next. Some theories or ideas, on the other hand, are conjunctural, they must be replaced by new ones sooner or later. What makes a speaker sought after by audiences is their ability to know the difference between “conjunctural” and “timeless”. The trick here is originality rather than technique. Interestingly, it can be much more effective to explain things in their simplest form instead of boring the audience with complicated presentations.
You have to keep moving in order to improve yourself. Sometimes a leap forward can take you out of your comfort zone. When it happens, do not be afraid, maybe this is what you really need. If you are in a place where there is no way to produce new ideas, you need to get yourself out of that unproductive place to protect the creativity of your soul. New opportunities will surely come your way, but not every opportunity is a guaranteed success. Authenticity is not an easy thing to achieve. If you have unique skills, experiences, or qualifications that sets you apart from others, they will never let you down.
Self-renewal is not an easy task. Instead of resisting the wave of change, it might be best to surf it. Just get on it and let it take you wherever it may. Let me also say this to my young colleagues who fear digital transformation: the human touch will endure for a long time. It’s too soon to worry yourself over it. The digital world promises a lot, but humanity is inimitable. When speakers choose the right way to express themselves, they will feel the positive feedback right away.
Of course, spontaneity is important, but that needs to be consolidated with interdisciplinary knowledge so that you are prepared to answer a question that comes out of nowhere. Even if you cannot provide a spot-on answer, it is essential that it is based on real knowledge. Obviously, there are some risks you may face when answering spontaneous questions:
Being famous as a speaker is nice, but fame is like a hungry animal waiting for the next success. Sometimes, being constantly expected to outperform yourself every time you speak to an audience or to answer a question on a subject you are not familiar with can cause a slip of the tongue, or a controversial statement resulting in embarrassment, or worse, undesirable reactions. So, my piece of advice to you is to avoid giving bold answers to questions when you’re caught off guard. Instead, try to produce solutions on issues that you know about.
Many speakers have experienced the same embarrassment or received negative feedback due to slips of the tongue, or inappropriate, ill-timed comments. But sometimes you need such mishaps to see that you need change. You look in the mirror and question yourself, see yourself in your most fragile state, learn your lesson and move on. As I pointed out earlier, the prerequisite for self-development is to be ready to embrace new experiences. Unfortunately, as imperfect beings, we are expected to be perfect all the time.
If one day, you feel tired, know that you are either not doing what you love, or you are not doing your job the way you love. When this happens, just stop what you’re doing, question yourself and find whatever job or style you love and move on.
On a final note, new knowledge or new ideas do not necessarily mean that the old ones should be disposed of. For new knowledge or ideas to take root, they must be sustained by the old ones. So, it would be best to set up a gradual process when you switch from your old style to a new one.
I wish you the best of luck and success in everything you do.