Monday, August 8, 2011

Focus on the Listener

One of the hardest speaking hurdles to get over is replacing the urge to "impress" with the desire to influence.

In this week's Slate, Will Oremus explains how Salman Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy succeeds because he speaks frankly and directly to his students - without trying to impress them:

There's nothing high-tech about Khan Academy. Nor is the concept entirely novel: Recorded lectures have been around at least as long as VCRs. It's the execution that sets Khan's site apart from the litany of failed ventures in educational technology.

Indeed, Khan Academy's success is unthinkable without Khan himself. Unconstrained by the need for approval from a district office, a teachers' union, or shareholders, he honed his service to meet the needs of the education world's most overlooked constituent: the student. Khan's videos—each shot in a single take—appeal because of, not in spite of, their lack of polish:

He comes across as a smart friend whose goal is to help you learn something, not monetize a product.

From the Green Room: Only you can move your audience to change. Only you can create influence. You will do so not by impressing your audience - but by making a personal connection.

For more on Salman Khan:


Fred E. Miller said...

Focus on the audience, not yourself.

I get it!

Thanks for the Post!

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you for your comment, Fred!