Knowing Your Boundaries

While delivering a speech, it is clear that we will be judged and perceived in a certain way based on our ideas, words, and body language. Taking a risk and really thinking out of the box can be quite rewarding and at the same time, it can be a disaster. The famous quote "there is a thin line between genius and insanity" probably stems from this. In order to remain on the genius side it is important to recognize our boundaries.

When I was in University, I had a friend named Ricardo, who was an exchange student from Mexico. One day Ricardo had to present his case study on Giant Tiger, a large Canadian retailer, similar to Zellers. In my four years of University, I had never seen such a lively, compelling, entertaining, crazy, off the wall and extremely humorous presentation. It definitely was not your typical dry business student presentation. It was so different that halfway through his presentation; he stepped out of the classroom for a couple of minutes and returned wearing a tiger costume. Sure it was strange, different, gutsy, and slightly ridiculous; however, for the first time all semester, every single student in the room was paying attention to the presentation. The audience laughed the whole way through and once it was over, every single student applauded with great enthusiasm.

Now, let me put more emphasis on the last sentence: every single STUDENT applauded. There was one critical person that was not amused by Ricardo's show ? the teacher. In her eyes, Ricardo acted completely unprofessionally and she believed that he was mocking the case study. She was definitely not happy, and as a result, she gave Ricardo a failing grade.

Now, let me introduce another story to prove my point. This is a story I heard from a doctor in New York City. He explained to me that while he was a resident at a reputable University, one of the most popular teachers was fired for making inappropriate comments during his lectures. The news was shocking to all the students because this was the kind of professor that would apparently put his heart and soul into his profession; he was the kind of professor you would be lucky to get once in a lifetime. The students could not believe that the most recognized and remarkable teacher from the faculty had been let go for making too many jokes in his classroom. He was dedicated and committed to transferring his knowledge in a pleasurable way and the students loved him because he had the capability of mixing humour with technical issues. I guess he told one too many jokes because the faculty committee decided to let him go simply because they felt he wasn't adequately representing the university.

Both of these stories are quite similar, and unfortunately, they both end in an unpleasant way. The positive thing is that we can learn a lot from their mistakes. Ultimately, they both failed to identify their hidden audience. Each presenter did not consider the effect of their eccentricities. There is nothing wrong with being different; however we must be aware of the boundaries we are about to cross. Remember this when the time comes for you to prepare your next talk and you feel like adding a spark of creativity. I strongly recommend that you remember to consider everyone who will be touched by your presentation. The result will be that you will not cross that invisible line which exists between genius and insanity.

Martin Perras, martin@leadersinstitute.ca, is a Management Consultant and President of The Leader's Institute Canada, http://www.leadersinstitute.ca. He offers management training and consulting to companies in the US and Canada. He can be reached at 1-800-872-7830 x103.

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


The Top 5 Public Speaking Questions Answered

There are a number of questions that we consistently get... Read More

Be a Guest Speaker and Attract Business

Being a guest speaker in front of the right audience... Read More

How to Get Started In Public Speaking

Public speaking is among the five most feared activities human... Read More

Speakers Learn How to Define Your Niche

This is one of the hardest things speakers have to... Read More

How To Make A Blue Ribbon Presentation Every Time

You can make a Blue Ribbon presentation each and every... Read More

15 Ways for Speakers to Earn More Profits

There is huge potential to create additional profits from your... Read More

Top 7 Ways to Succeed in the Business of Speaking

How attractive are you as a speaker? No, your looks,... Read More

Lessons in Love for the Shy at Heart

One of the biggest regrets of my life is that... Read More

Does Uptalk Make you Upchuck?

Uptalk is invading the work place and is reaching epidemic... Read More

A Simple Guide to Writing (and Giving) a Speech

Nearly as dreaded as snakes and spiders, public speaking ranks... Read More

Demand Dignity in Public Speaking Training

Mandy*, a bright, attractive professional woman, had a fear of... Read More

10 Tips for Better -- and Less Scary! -- Public Speaking

The fear of speaking in public is well-documented, often discussed,... Read More

How To Use Microphones

Microphones are designed to help your voice, not replace it.... Read More

Speak Up or Sit Down

Last night the phone rang; my wife said, "I hope... Read More

The Porch Light* Method to Speaking Confidence

You know the feeling. Looking out at a sea of... Read More

Speaking On Your Feet

Your ability to communicate effectively will account for most of... Read More

Be Brief!

Centuries ago great speakers often spoke two hours and more.... Read More

How To Dramatically Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

This Article Is For Those Who Understand How Persuasive Communication,... Read More

Make The Most of Examples and Stories

Examples and stories can bring your presentations alive. They can... Read More

Trust in Training: Societys Effect on an Audience

It is important to be continually aware that a person... Read More

Speak With E?s Part 2

"Educate, Energize, Entertain, and provide an experience for your audience"1.... Read More

Giving Your Audience Great Benefits

What benefit do you provide the audience?People should listen to... Read More

Feedback

I believe that asking for and acting on objective feedback... Read More

Speech Making - Reasons Why People Dont Listen

Making a speech seems simple. You speak, others listen. However... Read More

How to Present Your Proposal at an Executive Meeting

What's the worst reaction you've ever gotten when you made... Read More

Speak to Be Heard and Understood

Use your voice to your advantage. One of your main... Read More

Are You Talking the Talk?

"More learning occurs through emotion than through intellect" C.S. LewisEven... Read More

Speech Writing Tips: The 14 Speech Writing Secrets of President Bill Clinton

Speaking in public can be a powerful way to build... Read More

Let Your Appearance Speak for You, Not Against You!

Every 7 seconds another baby boomer turns 50. What does... Read More

Poised for Success: How Developing Self-Awareness Can Improve Your Presentations

There are a number of factors that determine how your... Read More

Timing - Why You Should Never Go Overtime with Your Presentation or Speech

In a conference setting, nothing annoys audiences more than talks... Read More

Ethics in Speaking: A Practical Point of View

Often managers have to deliver presentations with unpleasant content. The... Read More

What Makes A Great Presenter?

Every day millions of people around the world make a... Read More