Wednesday, August 16, 2023

how to (instantly) lose credibility as a key-note speaker

We've all been to conferences, webinars, and other events where there are headline speakers presented to us in a fanfare of excitement - and we all find ourselves getting whipped up in anticipation of what they're going to say, and then as they're delivering their message/story/challenge, we find ourselves moved to start to take action and make changes in our lives and businesses.

But what if the changes we make because of what these big name people exhort us to, are actually based on lies, and these high-ticket speakers are actually misleading us?

In the last few months, I've been at events where some of the 'big names' touted as to why I should attend them have based their whole arguments on different un-truths, including:

1) it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something

2) according to the laws of physics, bees shouldn't be able to fly

And if you're reading this thinking - but those things are true, please ask yourself this: how do you know they're true? Chances are, you believe them because you've heard them repeated by lots of people over time. (This is know as 'the illusionary truth effect'.) I'm pretty sure, you won't haven't researched either for accuracy or published research, because you already believe them to be true so, don't need to fact-check them.

My concern about this perpetuating of un-truths as part of people supporting their ideas or arguments, that they want us to act on is this:

- If you're asking me to believe the ideas you're presenting to me, but the foundations that you're building them on simply aren't true, then:

a) you've shown you can't be bothered to do some simple homework / fact-checking, which makes me wonder what else in your approach is similarly 'lazy'?

b) if you're asking me to trust you by relying on things that have been proven to be untrue, then that's a hard ask...

Reflecting on my own experiences and feelings of when key-note speakers have 'shown themselves up' in this way, I find myself immediately 'switching off' to want to listen to anything else that they're wanting to offer and argue - because I simply feel I can't trust it, and that they obviously don't have any respect for me as their audience. 

Which is a shame, as I also realise I may be missing out on some good stuff that's buried amongst the fallacies and untruths that they're unwittingly perpetuating, which only serves to contribute to false understanding about what we and others might really be capable of... 

So please - any of you out there who are speakers or headline attractions at events: do us the courtesy of showing that you respect us as your audience and fellow human beings, and do a quick check of your facts before you unwittingly succumb to the illusionary truth effect, and tell us do things based on 'facts' that just aren't true (and never have been).

debunking the 10,000 hours rule - 

debunking that bumble bees shouldn't be able to fly - 

No comments:

Post a Comment