Is There a Detriment to Being Remembered for One Thing?
What’s a person to do?
Speakers are schizophrenic. On one hand, the goal is to be remembered. On the other hand, a speaker does not want to be remembered for just one thing. You have the same challenge whenever you address an audience: an audience of one, one hundred, or one thousand. Whether you address your audience in person, on the phone or through text. The goal is to be remembered.
The First Lady, Michelle Obama, is having her own issues with this dilemna. If it is not easy for the first lady, how can it be easy for any of us? David Brooks, journalist, referred to Michelle Obama’s arms as Thunder and Lightening. From the over 50 male corner we hear, “she should not be known for her physical presence, for one body part”.
I would ask, isn’t it better to be known for something rather than nothing?
There is an old saying, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. I would tweak it to say, if you aren’t remembered for one thing, you may not be remembered for anything!
During the campaign, there was talk in the Obama ranks that Michelle should stop wearing sleeveless dresses because her muscles, combined with her potent personality, made her daunting. Amazing isn’t it that among national issues the magnitude of homelessness and healthcare, education and enemies, a candidates wife’s arms are an issue at all.
Michelle Obama is the first post Title IX First Lady. Title IX was passed in 1972 in hopes that it would dispose of sex discrimination, especially in athletic programs and create gender equality in sports. It actually reads, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Title IX had the impact it was designed to have: revolutionizing athletic opportunities for women with the number of girls in sports increasing ten fold in less than thirty years.
In 1972 when Title IX was passed, Michelle Obama was 8 years old. Laura Bush was 26 years old. Therefore, this First Lady is the first to grow up under Title IX. So you could say, we are looking at Title IX arms!
As a speaker, here are your three challenges:
- To be remembered
- To be remembered for something positive
- To have a call for action-to get someone to do something as a result of listening to you speak
1. To be remembered
A speaker must adopt two mantras. The first one, there is no reason to speak if you will not be remembered. The second one, there is no reason to attend an event, if you will not be remembered. Patricia Fripp, world-renowned speaker, always wears a memorable hat when she is not speaking. It is impossible to not remember her. Every aspect of a speaker is an area to be mined, to be leveraged. While the message is important, as a speaker you must remember that while the verbal, the message is important, the vocal, the tone of the message is often more important, and the visual, how a speaker looks delivering the message is of utmost importance. If there is a disconnect between what the speaker says and what they look like saying it, the audience believes what they look like saying it rather than the words.
2. To be remembered for something positive
While every speaker wants to be remembered, no speaker wants to be remembered only for the lettuce between his or her teeth. It is the responsibility of the speaker to be remembered, it is not the burden of the audience to find something memorable. From a speaker’s perspective, the very worst option is to not be remembered at all.
3. To have a call for action-to get someone to do something as a result of listening to you speak
The last time you spoke solely to inform was in your high school speech class. You can’t afford to speak only to inform, your goal is to persuade. The more you can break down your goal to a specific call for action, the more effective you will be as a speaker. The smarter your goal, the more successful you will be as a speaker.
Smart stands for:
T ime Possible
Let’s say your goal was to end world hunger. Would that be a smart goal? No.
A SMART goal would be to ask for $1.00 from each audience member or one can of food.
Whether or not you have Title IX arms, you have the same challenge as every speaker. To be remembered, to be remembered in a positive way, to move, inspire, encourage your audience to do something different as a result of hearing you speak.