Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Make the Same Mistake I Made During My Presentation

I made a HUGE mistake during a marketing presentation I gave recently.

Actually, this particular event was a Q&A session.  I lead these events, because I really enjoy helping people.  More importantly, I completely respect the importance of helping people learn, and I am passionate about doing what I can to try and make things as easy as possible for people to understand.  (I don't always reach my goal, but...)

(If you prefer to LISTEN to this post instead of read it...)

During this specific portion of the event, we took a volunteer who is a business owner and tried to get the crowd to collaborate to help this person form ideas to market his or her service.

There were a lot of great ideas being exchanged.  A lot of people were participating.

There was one person, however, who I KNEW had the background to help this person.  This individual expressed concern about helping a competitor.  This person does a little bit of work doing the same thing.

While I knew that this concerned individual is at a much higher level than the business owner we are trying to help.  This business owner was not any threat to this more experienced individual.  Not by a long shot.

I also knew that individual could contribute a lot that could help many other people attending the event, even people who had different businesses, altogether.

Here is where I made my mistake.

It is MY passion to help people learn.  I want to help people learn whatever I have the ability to share.  I am passionate about this, and I get frustrated when people struggle for the wrong reasons.  I really like to do my part to remove these barriers that keep people from learning.

What's wrong with that?


Key Question: What did I do that was so wrong?

I pushed this more experienced individual to help when he or she clearly did not want to help this struggling business owner.

As much as I would like this struggling business owner to learn and be exposed to helpful ideas, it is NOT this more experienced person's OBLIGATION to share ideas.

Helping and sharing ideas is MY passion--not the passion of this more experienced individual.

Eventually, this person provided ideas--some really great ideas!  At the time, I thought I did the right thing, but after this person brought his or her concern to my attention, I realized that I was wrong.

I pushed MY views on someone who came to learn--not teach.  I forced this person to teach.

When I promoted the event and encouraged people to attend it, I did not advertise that they had to help.  They only had to come to be part of the exchange to benefit from it.

The cost of this particular event was free for everyone who attended this--EXCEPT this more experienced individual.

I penalized this person for knowing something, and essentially I made it a requirement--on a social level--for this person to help.

I vilified this person simply for knowing more than the other person.  This more experienced person should not have felt obligated to share.  Yet, I completely obligated this person.

I had really good intentions, but I was absolutely wrong.

(NOTE: This is NOT making any statement about whether this more experienced person should offer help.  This is about whether I, as the speaker, should REQUIRE it.)

If you're a presenter, have you ever done this?  Before you read this post, did it ever occur to you that you were being unfair?

If you're a presenter, you might be making this same mistake...hopefully not, but until someone brought it to my attention, I made the mistake...and I've made this same mistake often.

I look forward to making new mistakes during my next presentations.

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