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Avoiding Character Assassination

A disturbing trend is emerging amongst professional speakers and trainers. It is one of abandonment, of shirking personal responsibility and of not taking the time to define our core values. And, where those core values have been defined, not imbuing our message with them.

Our new, sophisticated audiences can smell a rat miles away. When they pick up the scent they douse us with indifference. They talk amongst themselves and pick us apart like vultures on a carcass. They are the Siskel & Ebert in our audiences, giving us the thumbs up or down, (if they choose to review us at all).

Our presentations cannot, must not be a throw of the dice. Ensuring alignment between the needs of the organization and our core values is paramount. Without that alignment two conflicts arise: First, we hoodwink our client by knowingly misrepresenting ourselves, a strict violation of any code of ethics. Second, we strip away a delicate layer of our own character in the process, for what else do we market but our authenticity?

If “character” is defined as the good things we do when no one is looking then character assassination occurs when everyone is looking. Once we’re assassinated, there’s no coming back. Bullet-proof protection exists, however, in the form of adherence to core values. For some this protection takes the form of a personal code of conduct. For others it is a spiritual adherence to a higher power. For others still, it may take the form of research into their target audience to evaluate compatibility. Most often, however, it is a blend of these values that ensures that we are seen and heard, as we want to be.

The payoff of continually aligning our message with our core values is multitudinous. First, it reinforces our branding. To “be one” with your area of expertise is to have reached the pinnacle of marketing prowess. Clarity of purpose can now drive your business and differentiation is no longer an uphill battle. The second major benefit of alignment is ease of access. You become known not only for what you preach but also for your honesty and sincerity; two attributes in short supply. When you couple those assets with in-demand content, you perpetuate your success exponentially.

With words as our stock-in-trade and a dearth of professional speakers driven by core values, we cannot afford not to talk our walk. Respect for our listeners demands that we abide by guiding principles that govern our conduct both on and off the platform. Our audience is searching for a connection that can only be achieved if we are true blue. A brutally honest analysis of our modus operandi will compel us to take appropriate action to correct any inconsistencies.

Fortunately, this is a skill that can be learned, nurtured, and critiqued. We owe it to ourselves, and to our clients, to apply Socratic methodologies to our work and prevent premature death

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