Over the years I’ve heard many people complain about professional speakers sharing stories, anecdotes, allegories, parables, metaphors, etc. that have been around forever. Apparently, they’re tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. I can understand that.
In fact, I’ve felt that way myself from time to time as a speaker while I’m creating keynote or seminar content. I can remember thinking maybe I should skip that particular material this time as so many people have heard it before. However, whenever that thought enters my mind, two major facts soon follow.
First, these traditional favorites have been repeated so many times by so many speakers for good reason. They educate, they entertain, they make a point, they’re memorable, they’re passed on to future generations because they have been proven time and time again to add value to those who hear them. When they stop proving to be valuable, they’ll be forgotten and cease to exist.
Second, I think of the many valuable tips, tools, strategies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from professional speakers and trainers that continued to share those very valuable traditional favorites. If they had decided to discontinue sharing for fear of being accused of repetition, I never would have had the pleasure and privilege of learning this material myself. As I think back over my career, I can remember hearing and reading a lot of repetition from such notable speakers and authors as Tom Peters, Zig Ziglar, Denis Waitley, Jim Rohn, Peter Drucker, John Maxwell, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, Norman Vincent, Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, and Tony Robbins. I’m so thankful they were persistent in their messages.
I’m also concerned about this valuable material not reaching the ears, hearts and minds of future generations. How will they learn these lessons if we don’t continue to share them? In reviewing today’s current business environment, it’s quite obvious that many of today’s leaders have missed some very important lessons during their careers, and the results have taken their toll. I urge you to join me in making certain we pass on these wonderful lessons to our future leaders.
For example, a client recently sent me the following old favorite. Although she had heard it many years ago, she enjoyed and appreciated hearing it again. After reviewing it myself, I certainly have to agree with her. I also thought of many people I’ve met who hold a variety of leadership roles who obviously missed this “oldie but goodie” the first time around. It’s one of many we should all remember and pass on to emerging leaders in every organization. Enjoy.
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one:
“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, red-haired and in her early 40s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson.
I’ve also never forgotten her name was Dorothy.