Do you really need to customize your speeches?

No. I will tell you why and I encourage you to reflect on the significance of this lesson to your leadership journey.

Almost every speaker out there will tell you that they’ll customize and tailor-fit their speeches to the need of YOUR audience. That sounds good most specially because many speakers (and training providers) sell canned speeches.

Five years ago, I was also selling the same feature: I will tailor-fit my speech to your needs.

Then a president of a Philippine bank company taught me a lesson many speakers like me failed to see.

I have just finished delivering a 90-minute talk on Reinventing Leadership to his 80 bank executives. The Chairman was very delighted that he doubled my professional fee. That’s one of the story on that day. The other story is when the Chairman introduced me to the new bank president.

After a quick introduction, the president said, “I want all my people to learn what we all have heard today.”
I answered, “They must sir…and I will tailor-fit this speech to their needs.”

“No, Jef. I want them to hear the same exact speech. Please don’t change it”.

I was a believer of a customized speech. If I had not seen the sincerity in his eyes, I would have defended the superiority of a customized speech to a canned speech. But I got the lesson at once, and I still carry this lesson with me today.

People do not really care whether you have a canned or a customized speech. What they want is an answer to their question, a solution to their problems, and a movement towards their dreams.

A single speech may solve different problems of different people. Your speech is an old speech only to you who have delivered it a hundred times. It is a new speech to someone who is listening to you for the first time — and who needs your solutions now.

I deliver a speech — or tell a story and facilitate exercises — because I offer not just answers but solutions.

If you intend to become a professional speaker, find solutions to people’s problems even before they invite you.

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