Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How to alienate your audience in one easy lesson

For those of you unfamiliar with Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ series of books, they provide inspirational instruction on changing your mindset on wealth and work. Kiyosaki writes with an energetic, warm, non confrontational style so when I, and two friends went along to a ‘Rich Dad’ education seminar, we expected much of the same.

This was a free seminar, understandably geared to promote Rich Dad training programmes and we were prepared for a bit of a sales pitch. What we weren’t expecting was an assault on our senses.

I am particularly interested in soft skills, and have no doubt that methods of communication and personal interaction have a huge impact on health and wellbeing in the workplace. With this in mind, I was prepared to be an enthusiastic member of the audience, with both my professional and personal hat on.

The speaker (presumably a franchisee of the ‘Rich Dad’ brand) started in an engaging manner but as the two hours wore on, managed to offend and/or bore at least half the audience. The ‘I’m a multi-millionaire who doesn’t need to work’ bit was fine. The ‘here are the pictures of all the holidays I had last year and my big house’ was OK too. Even the sales pitch for the undoubtedly excellent three day training programme was acceptable at the start. There were also some useful nuggets about how muddy thinking stops people moving forward and how you need to be specific with your goals.

But then he started shouting to emphasise a point. So loud and aggressively that several of the audience members jumped, startled. At one point, the speakers from the sound system started buzzing and he turned to them and screamed ‘shut up’. If he hadn’t seemed so angry it would have been funny.

As the two hours continued, the sales pitch became like a tirade, suggesting that those who didn’t plan to sign up were fearful losers. I was aware at this point that the speaker was unsettling the kinesthetics (those whose primary learning style is feelings) and the auditories (listeners) by the assault on their senses. I suspect they were among the many who left before the end.

The person sitting next to me passed a note saying ‘I feel I’m being told off!’. I was immediately transported back to my school days, and feared I may be sent to the corner for speaking in class!

Then this aggressive judgemental speaker delivered his killer line ‘It is a sin to be poor in the UK – it’s not a sin to be poor somewhere like India, but no-one has the excuse to be poor in the UK

If changing my mindset means I become a heartless, dispassionate individual, then I’d rather go without the trappings of wealth.

Note to self: use this as an example of ‘how not to present’ at your next communications skills training session.

Note to reader: Be aware when you present, how best to engage your audience, and keep them on side. And please don’t be put off Rich Dad Poor Dad by this story, Kiyosaki’s books are good

Note to Robert Kiyosaki: I know that some of the people who present your seminars are great, I met a couple of them a few weeks ago, but please be careful who you choose to represent your very powerful brand.


Post a Comment