Connecting with the audience

Passion. Is that all you’ve got?


It’s something that drives me mad.  When you hear ‘experts’ talking about ‘passion’ as the most important element in a speaker’s arsenal. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

First of all ‘passion’ is an abstract noun, and we all know that abstract nouns mean nothing without clarification. Then ‘passion’ is spoken of in the way that hopeless singers pleading for a chance to ‘get to Hollywood’ do when prostrating themselves before Simon Cowell…

 ‘I want it…’, they say through gobs of snot and tears, as if wanting something is enough of a reason for the audience to give in and say, ‘Oh well that’s alright then, your complete lack of talent, effort and perspective is made irrelevant because you want it so badly…’

It never happens does it?  And it makes the pleader hate themselves, and the pleaded to, lose all respect for the little pleader kneeling before them. So ‘passion’ is the presenters version of ‘wanting it’.  It’s selfish, it’s about the speaker and it ignores the audience’s perspective completely. And without moderation, empathy and perspective, passion is irritating, inappropriate and irrelevant to most audiences, isn’t it? Let’s look at a few fatal combinations-

  • Passion without thought- is boorishness
  • Passion without empathy- might be rape
  • Passion without a point- is the dictionary definition of irrelevance
  • Passion without talent- is either amusing, embarrassing or both.
So can we be a bit more challenging of the word when someone says you’ve got to have ‘passion’. I’d always ask why?  And what else have you got?  In the next post– ‘Steve Jobs, more furious than passionate, and all the better for it.’ I’ll look at four world-renowned orators and show how more passion would have made them less effective. What do you think, am I speaking out of my Apple?
This is a part of my Fit, Focus & Flair model. To be great, a presentation must be a perfect FIT for the situation; the content must have complete FOCUS on it’s purpose and message; and it must have enough FLAIR to stand out on the day, and in our memories. Learn more about developing your Fit, Focus and Flair.
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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Steve Jobs- more furious than passionate. So what? | Jim Harvey- Public Speaking Blog

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