I follow a simple mantra when giving presentations, talks, writing a blog, creating a video, a podcast or creating anything public for that manner.
Improve the life of ONE person
My belief is that …
If I improve the life of ONE person with my content then my job is complete and I’m happy.
If I help more than one person, then that’s all gravy, baby.
Here’s my thought process on this …
If my blog post about a bug I fixed in some app helps ONE person. I’m beyond satisfied.
This is the same approach I give to public speaking – if I help ONE person then I’m happy.
Unfortunately, so many people these days start off on the wrong foot by only submitting their talks to conferences that have a lot of attendees because that’s where they feel they’ll make the biggest impression.
Yes, big conferences are fun … but IMO it doesn’t matter how many people there.
It’s the lasting effect you leave on people that matters.
I’ve spoken to groups as small as 2 people before at small tech meetups in the midwest.
It didn’t bother me. I’m honest. Not one bit. I loved it.
I was grateful they took the time to drive out to see me, sit there with me and listen to me. Beyond grateful.
Do you know why I really loved it though?
It was because I was able to help them.
They needed something and I was able to help them in their careers and life through what I provided.
That feels good. I know it will come back around in some way or another in the future. How? I’m not sure. Life works in mysterious ways.
Let’s keep going …
If I have a crowd of 500 people that I’m speaking to, and my talk helps ONE person, JUST ONE, I’m happy.
Some might say (myself included sometimes) …
Your goals are too low, you should aim higher to have everyone get something out of it. Go big!
I see your point, but you’re never going to make everyone happy – so don’t try. Here’s the thing that should apply if you have 1 person or 500 people in your crowd – you should aim to pour yourself into your talk and your presentation. If you do this then you know you gave it your all.
If you gave 100%, you’ll know that you didn’t leave anything on the table. Additionally, you’ll know that in your heart that if that ONE person out there gets something out of your talk, you’ll be truly grateful to be a positive influence in someone’s life. Well, that’s the way I see it at least.
Let’s diverge for a second as I’m sure this question is on some of your minds …
Won’t bigger conferences magnify this effect?
Definitely Yes. The more eyes and the more people you can get in front of the more impact you can make.
HOWEVER … don’t be afraid of small meetups and gatherings though. You can find these on Meetup.com and various other places that have associations and such. These are gold mines of opportunity for personal growth and professional growth.
The formula for winning here and large arenas is this: Provide Value and help at least ONE person (yet try to help as many as possible)
If you’re doing that, then guess what? You’re doing marketing for your own personal brand and when you compound this over time it will have some insane positive changes for you during your career.
Here’s some real honesty here – the majority of my consulting contracts have come from my blog, my speaking engagements and the content I’ve put out into the public.
When I speak in front of 5 people, or 500, either way – someone out there sees it and hopefully ONE person finds value in it. That ONE person may not need my help now, but eventually, 2-3-6 months or even 2-4 years down the road they have a boss/friend/family member who needs something and they know I can help them.
You never know who’s out there. Someones wife/husband/cousin/brother/etc could be the CEO/CTO of some big company or startup that needs your exact specialty. We’re all connected in ways we’ll never fully know. Never take anything for granted.
In these instances when a friend/family member/etc needs help, the person who saw my talk will say –
“Hey, I know this person who could do exactly what you need. His name is Donn Felker. Let’s get ahold of him.”
This is magical serendipity at work.
You might be wondering … how does this fit into becoming an independent consultant or maybe even going out on my own (something I’ve been talking about more and more)?
That one talk turned into a consulting opportunity from that ONE person. Now I just need to seal the deal and turn it into a real contract (and I did).
You wouldn’t believe how many times this has happened in my career. More times than I can count.
Helping that one person in a talk or presentation or blog or article or whatever … that’s what has tipped the scales in my favor and it will yours too.
Helping that ONE person is what will build you an endless pipeline of prospects for you to build your career on. You’ll then be able to slowly go out on your own and start consulting, contracting, freelancing and living a life that YOU want to live.
So the next time you go to speak, write a blog, create a video or put anything out there, don’t second guess yourself. Put your 100% effort into and do it right. Most likely you’ll end up helping someone and you never know when it will come back to help you in the future.
It’s that one person that you helped and walked them through a tough problem.
It’s that one person you made a good impression on and they forever remember you.
It’s that one person you stayed after to talk to or help walk through something they didn’t understand.
It’s that one person you helped open their eyes to a new concept, tool, methodology or practice that helped change their life (even if it is only small – it doesn’t matter).
It’s that one person who was mega-nervous to talk to you because they’re super introverted but they wanted to say hi and you made them feel comfortable and welcome.
It’s that ONE person.
It’s that ONE person that will remember you.
I’m sure you remember that ONE person who did something for you or said something to you that made a difference in your life.
The next time you create something, a talk, a blog, whatever it is – remember to help …
… that ONE person.
Thank you for reading. If you’ve read this far, please comment below and let me know what that ONE person did in your life that made a difference.
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