The Audience


Without an audience a speaker doesn't exist.


When I became a full time speaker in 1957, I was teaching electronics fundamentals in an Air Force Tech School.  Since learning was the focus and I was an authority, it seemed reasonable that I believed what I had to say was more important than what my students were thinking.


That changed when I was given a class of "wash backs" and told not to worry if none of them passed because "they're all losers."  No way!  I assigned them to study hall and spent every afternoon with them.  When they all passed I was accused of teaching the test, which I could not have done.  They were retested and all passed.


From then on I have been more focused on what an audience takes away than what I have to say.  Think about it.  Which is more important?  That your audiences sing praises to your oratorical magnificence... or that they grow in knowledge and wisdom.  (Both are preferred.)


Yes, there was less money in it, but it established the standard I prefer.



home | feedback

(as of May 30, 2014)