8 ways to get invited back

hope on computerPeople who speak or teach or train always struggle with getting lots of content into little time. Whether you have 30 seconds or 15 minutes or three hours or 15 weeks, picking what to say about your subject in that time in a meaningful way is tough. Whether you are face to face or in a large group or in a webinar, you need to make choices.

So part of the challenge of teaching is getting invited back. (Sometimes that looks like people coming to the next session, but they are still inviting you back into their space, their time, their lives. )

Here are 8 things you can give away to get another chance to present the next piece of your lesson:

1. Give away crack.

Making them laugh, making them cry, is great. If all they can remember is, “Wow, what a great speaker,” if they can’t remember anything but how you make them feel, then you are dealing crack. But if that’s what you want, be good at it. (And be honest about it)

2. Give away sandwiches.

In crises, the Salvation Army gives sandwiches and coffee. They have way more that they offer, but sometimes people just need food for the next few hours. If you can teach them something that will help them survive today, that may what’s needed. “Here’s how you deal with the first day of unemployment. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about find a job but today? How to get out of bed.”

3. Give away kits.

Kits have all the pieces cut and all you need to do is glue them together. You don’t learn about house building, but maybe all you need is a house.  Sometimes we can teach people how to do the simple task in a perfect world. Then they can come back to learn how to actually cut the pieces themselves for the next time.

4. Give away maps.

And maps may include travel stories and guidebooks. Sometimes we teach journeys, trips that we’ve been on that other people need to take. Give them direction and make sure they know your phone number if they get lost.

5. Give away life jackets.

“Right now, you don’t need this. But someday, a crisis is coming. Here’s how to put it on.” Teach people how to do what they’ll need. Train them even. Have them repeat their home phone number so when speed dial fails, they’ll know how to get home.

6. Give away lens cleaner.

Sometimes what we say isn’t anything new. It just helps people see a little more clearly, taking the smudges off. Those of us who do this minimize it: “It’s not real value.” But greasy glasses and broken wiper blades cause accidents.

7. Give away hammers.

A good hammer can be used to build houses and churches and businesses. If you teach someone a hammer (or circular saw or whatever tool), you allow them to take it into their world for whatever they are building. They will come back for updates or new tools, and they will send other people to hear you. But you need to show them how to use it. In real time.

(There is a danger when all we give away is sledgehammers, by the way. Demolition can help clear the way, but if no one knows how to build something new, it gets really cold.)

8. Give away hope.

“You can make a difference, and here is the difference you are making. ” Not platitudes, not placation. Giving people a concrete way to change lives whether through giving or touching or building or loving or praying will bring them back for the next project, the next life to change.

The next time you speak, the next lesson you prepare, decide what you are giving away. Do it clearly and well. And you will get the next chance.


20 responses to “8 ways to get invited back

  1. This is brilliant Jon – such a helpful way of working out what it is we’re teaching.

    I’m going to come back to this one often I know

  2. I second Joanna.

    And #’s 6 & 7 are wow.

  3. Joanna and Lissa Thank you for the affirmation. I think i’ll be coming back, too. I struggle with not having this kind of focus so i figured I’d remind myself.

  4. I’ve been teaching people — business people — for over 10 years and in all my professional development, I’ve never seen such succinct and spot on advice. THANK YOU. I am bookmarking this to read before I develop each new workshop or presentation.

  5. What i like about what you wrote is that the theme behind every Give Away is that a good presenter spends more time thinking about what her or his audience needs than what they want to say. i’ve always thought the ratio should be 90% what do they know/what do they need, and 10% what will i say. You’ve presented it succinctly, making it easy to remember. Feels like you Gave Away a hero sandwich.

  6. Fabulous way to chase away writer’s-block-blues. I really love the way you approached each tip as a giveaway – everyone loves free stuff! Going back to my blog to start giving stuff away! Thanks!

  7. Tea, Patti, Jeniffer – Thank you for stopping by. With all modesty, I’m bookmarking it too. I love the challenge of the 90/10% ration. And I wish I’d thought of it as an invention tool. I will now.

  8. Witty and wise. Thank you.

  9. As a speaker, I take this to heart. Thanks for making me wonder if I’m leaving anything behind.

  10. Love it – do an e-Book on this and share with ASTD!

  11. Thanks, Jon. These are helpful handles! I included a link on my blog today. http://tellingsecrets-mks.blogspot.com/2009/10/gifts-to-give-those-you-serve.html

  12. Wow. Very powerful. I’d like to see you unpack them one by one. Somehow, #4 & #6 speak to me.

  13. Dammit, Jon. There you go being brilliant again. Bookmarked for good. Thank you. 🙂


  14. This struck a chord for me as well Jon, in another context now being explored within my Talking Story community: The struggle so many today are facing with finding engaging work (for some, that = job). Thus the resonance started with this in your second one, “If you can teach them something that will help them survive today, that may be what’s needed. “Here’s how you deal with the first day of unemployment. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about find a job but today? How to get out of bed.”
    Thank you, for helping me see certain things more clearly, especially in how so much is really about what we invest in the giving.

  15. Robin and Carol, thanks for the affirmation Lynne – what a wonderful way to say that “am I leaving anything behind?” Thanks!

  16. Marti – thanks for the link! Anna – i’m starting to think about the unpacking. Today I did an example (rather than an unpacking) of #4. Rosa – I’m glad to be part of your thinking. You are pointing to a very significant challenge right now. Starting from where people are aching is a significant challenge and yet, as I am writing this I am thinking of a friend who I haven’t taken the time to listen to carefully to provide answers he needs (rather than the ones I want to give).

  17. I love the style and also the message. Everybody loves a free gift.

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