Who Are You Speaking For?

Velma Knowles, Associate Dean

Have you ever felt like you want to know what your audience thinks about your presentation, but then again, you don’t?

Back in April, I spoke at a virtual event and this was my first time speaking for this organization. At the end of the program, participants put their comments in the chat. Most of the comments shared were two words, ‘thank you.’

Has that ever happened to you?

If you are like me, you are looking to hear those amazing words, like ‘you rocked it,’ and ‘best speaker, ever.’ But when that does not happen, you feel disappointed.

We know in our mind that we can’t please everyone.

You know that, and I know that.

But in our hearts, we want to please everyone. We take two words like ‘thank you’ and make them appear as ‘average.’ But they are not.

It was not until the next day that I saw more feedback on social media about my presentation. To my surprise, participants were sharing how great the program was, how much fun they had having me as their speaker. Some participants even reached out on LinkedIn to connect.

Crazy right?

It was at that moment that I had a rude awakening. I found myself asking this question: “Who are you speaking for?”

It was as if another person answered me. “You’re not speaking for everyone. You’re not speaking to people who don’t need to hear what you have to say. You’re speaking to that person whose life will be changed by your message.”

My message, and your message is not for everyone.

I’m speaking for the leader who is stuck in their career and needing someone to remind them of their value.

I’m speaking for the co-worker who struggles to get their point across and needs some tips on how to communicate and connect.

I’m speaking for the person who wants to give up on their dreams, who needs someone to remind them that while their journey won’t be easy, they are worth it.

“Who are you speaking for?” That’s what I ask myself every time I walk on stage or turn on my camera to present.

Now today, I’m speaking for you… my fellow speakers, peers, and friends.

I’m here to remind you that your voice matters. That there are people who need to hear your message.

So, next time, you don’t hear the words, you need from others. When you feel a little disappointed, and you just want to give up. Pause and ask yourself this question:

Who are you speaking for?

Velma Knowles

When leaders want to break team silos, drive unprecedented growth, and maximize leadership impact, they call Velma Knowles. Velma is an award-winning association leader, multi-best-selling author, and certified leadership coach.