“I’m a Failure!” is a great example.
My good friend and internet mentor, Russ Henneberry, is an internet expert.
He develops, and helps others develop: web sites, blogs, email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, and many other things related to internet marketing. He really knows his stuff!
Russ holds a monthly MeetUp named, TINY BUSINESS, MIGHTY PROFITS and has established himself as an authority in this area. Part of his plan for ‘proving his status as an expert’ is the speaking he does at the MeetUps. They are so well attended, he’ll probably need the seating the Fox Theatre in St. Louis affords in the near future.
From the get-go, Russ connected with his audience on an emotional level.
At his first MeetUp, he announced we would go around the room and give everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves with their elevator speech. Russ then said, “I’ll go first.”
Here’s what he said:
“I’m an entrepreneur, teacher, son, father, husband, and . . . I’m a Failure.”
No one expected to hear those words.
Russ then went on to explain about a business he had owned and failed. He elaborated on all the mistakes he had made and how the business had drained him financially and emotionally.
When he uttered that phrase, “I’m a Failure.” it had the same impact on the attendees as when Renee Zelwicker exclaimed in the movie, Jerry McQuire, “You had me at ‘Hello‘”
Everyone in Russ’s audience instantly connected to him on an emotional level.
I can not over emphasize the impact of that statement. Too many times we hear speakers talk about how great they are and their many accomplishments. They hardly ever mention failure, and consequently, often don’t connect emotionally with their audiences.
Failure is part of life. We learn more from what goes wrong than what goes right. When something works the first time we try it, we usually don’t stop and analyze why it worked. Failing stops us. And, if we’re smart about it, we try to determine why success didn’t occur, change something, and try, try again.
However, most speakers, and people in general, don’t like to admit their failures, especially in a public forum.
Russ seized the moment, grabbed his audience with his honesty and that ‘pattern interrupt’ phrase, and has held them ever since!
Connect emotionally, as Russ Henneberry does, and Your speech will be: absolutely; positively; there’s no doubt in my mind; no ifs, ands, or buts about it; Your speech will be – No Sweat!