The other day I attended a seminar with some friends.
The guests on the panel were “successful” people from the local community.
Some of them worked in real estate. A couple of them had backgrounds in marketing and promotion.
The event was geared toward young professionals. All the panelists were over 40 years old and were invited because they’d reached financial success.
Overall, the panel did a great job. They answered questions well and gave a lot of their backstory. And the advice was solid.
But at the end, I realized that I really didn’t feel connected to the panelists.
However, it’s not that I didn’t like them. They all seemed nice enough. And they would certainly be great connections in the future.
But why didn’t I connect with them?
And I wasn’t the only one, a few of my friends felt the same way.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized exactly why I didn’t feel connected:
They didn’t share any failures.
They only talked about their successes: how many offices they had, the revenue their business made, and name dropping people they’d met.
But there was no mention of any failures.
Failures make us human. Failures and pain connect us with others.
Especially in a room where the panelists have already been crowned by the event organizers as “successful”, there is already a barrier.
In order to connect with the us, we needed to know that they were human – that when they were young professionals, they dealt with fear, doubt, uncertainty, and questions of purpose.
When we get online, we try and front. We talk about all the wins we have. We highlight things like what publications we’ve been quoted in, how much money we’ve made, or who we know.
And that’s all helpful. Establishing authority and credibility is important.
But if you’re really trying to connect with your audience, you need to be vulnerable. You need to highlight your challenges. And discuss how you overcame them.
The audience needs to go on a journey with you. They need to feel your pain. They need to know that you struggled too.
That’s how you connect to an audience.
In this week’s Analytive Podcast, I talk about the fear and anxiety I had in launching Analytive – not because I want sympathy, but to connect with people (basically everyone) who’s ever had to struggle for something.
Many of the biggest names in marketing right now are extremely open with that side of their story. Grant Cardone talks about being a drug addict. Gary Vee talks about being an immigrant. Tai Lopez talks about living in a trailer park.
These are people with huge audiences. And by business standards, are extremely successful.
But part of the reason for the huge audience is vulnerability. They talk about struggles and pain.
So, if you’ve been touting your strong resume and can’t seem to connect with anyone, it’s time to change your narrative.
Talk about your failures. Talk about the times you tried and didn’t make it. And how that brought you to where you are today.
That’s the narrative that connects with your audience.
Authenticity always wins.
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