My favorite radio consultant, Mike McVay, was famous for going over my air check tapes and saying after every break, "So....does this pass the 'Who Cares' test?" He meant for me to determine, every time I cracked the mike, whether I was about to talk about something the listener really wanted to hear or was it just something that I was interested in. That philosophy has helped me become a successful morning radio personality.
But it's also helped my speaking career...because the first thing I do before I even start developing a topic is take the "Who Cares?" test. Who'll want to learn more about this subject? Why should my audience be interested in this particular story? Is this something that only I care about--or is a shared experience that will resonate with a large number of people?
It's a great litmus test, even if you're required to speak about a certain topic. For instance, one of my clients asked me for help in developing a presentation on mortgage lending. (You're already rubbing down the goosebumps, I can tell.) I asked him why that topic was so important. He said too many customers get pushed into deals they'll never be able to afford and it was his mission to convince the industry that its strategy should be to help customers achieve their financial goals without get-rich-quick gimmicks.
The topic we came up with was "Do The Right Thing-Creating A Lifetime of Customers By Helping Them Create A Lifetime of Wealth!" It turned out to be the best-attended session of his industry's conference.
Take the "Who Cares?" test every time you make a presentation and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the response when you choose a topic everyone likes rather than try to persuade people to enjoy something only you might like.