If Someone Doesn't Like You, That's Good!
I’ve just spoken to someone I assumed was ringing to book me to speak. I’m on the database of an organisation that has branches in every town/suburb and I’ve delivered my talks at many of them. Always, when a Speaker Secretary has contacted me, it’s been simply a question of finding a compatible date. Today, the guy asked me about the content – essentially, he was asking me to pitch my talk to him – and he didn’t like the answers. It was clear this was going badly and I felt myself gearing up to tell him what I imagined he wanted to hear, in order to get the gig. Thank Goodness, I stopped myself in time!
Whether you hate public speaking or you love it, I think you’ll agree that delivering a 45-minute talk to a group of people who are (at best) not interested in your subject, whom you duped into listening to you by misrepresenting what you were going to say, would not be the most joyful experience. And never mind you, what about the poor audience? What you’ve done to them boils down to fraud. Whichever way you look at it, the picture is a study of negative emotions.
If someone doesn’t like the sound (or the reality) of what you offer, that’s good. It shows you offer something of substance and flavour, not something bland that everyone consumes without protest but instantly forgets. If everyone thinks you’re OK, nobody feels strongly about you. If some people are going to think you’re fantastic, the flip side is that other people will think you’re ghastly. What they mean is, you’re not for them – and that’s fine. The worst thing to be is someone everyone can take or leave.
In my talk Life Lessons from Public Speaking (the very talk this guy turned down) I remind the audience of this undeniable fact, made famous by Abraham Lincoln: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. You can’t; nobody can. So there’s no point in trying. In fact, if the guiding principle of your life is to please people, you’ll end up failing miserably. Stand for something in your own right and you’ll find a lot of people on your side. Those who take an opposing view may still respect you – which they won’t if you spend your life grovelling.
Next time you’re rejected, remember:
1. It’s a lucky escape
2. The more someone dislikes you, the more someone else is going to love you
… and rejoice!