3 things presenters can learn from Julien Blanc

In my previous post I drew attention to a troubled twerp called Julien Blanc. He’s the guy who’s a self-called ‘pick-up artist’ who for years has been selling his services as a speaker, all across the world, to men who want to learn how to become a PUA themselves.  He’s in a whole heap of trouble after a woman (Jenn Li) objected to his methods, his language and his appallingly sexist and racist video clips that could then be found all over the web. She did more than just object, she set up a global, online petition to have him stopped. I asked what we could learn from him as presenters ourselves.  Click here if you can stand it to see a video of what Blanc says and does. Here are 3 core lessons-

  1. Just because the audience is laughing it doesn’t mean it’s funny- The audience was laughing, but any considered view would have shown him that what he was saying in tone and language would have offended most reasonable people. That’s why Jenn Liu was driven to risk her privacy and her security to stop it.  George Orwell once said ‘say anything sooner than say anything barbaric‘.  Here’s a perfect example of what he meant and a perfect example of modern-day barbarity.
  2. Charisma is about confidence and social skill- Charisma can be negative and positive.  It’s about changing the way people feel about you, them and the world.  If you take social skill (courtesy, respect, charm etc.) away from a confident speaker you’re left with an arrogant prick. QED Julien Blanc, David Starkey, Gerald Ratner and so on and on.
  3. Control your excitement puppy, or you’ll end up wetting yourself-  In slight mitigation of his crimes, I look at Blanc and see a boy/man who used, by his own admission, to be a bit of an outcast.  He’s learned to do something and been pretty successful to this point, and got a bit excited by his own hype.  He’s a young guy, in a room earning thousands of bucks a day and is surrounded by acolytes.  He (metaphorically) wet his pants.  I see bankers, consultants and senior managers doing that quite often too.  Mostly they’re men, but sometimes not.

Like that pissing puppy, maybe Julien Blanc got a bit carried away? Maybe he’s not as bad as he’s painted.  He probably is, but whatever the real truth it’s too late.  He’s tarred forever by this stuff, and all of us could remember and learn from his pain, humiliation and experience.

Here’s a link to Jenn Li’s work and thoughts that drew the world’s attention to the case.

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