What’s in it for me?

I remember in school, when speech writing and delivery was discussed, one of the things emphasized was “What’s in it for me?”

According to our prof, you should think of the audience and what they can gain from your talk. In that way, she said, they will pay attention and listen more.

After several years, as a teacher then, I would mention something similar to my students when I taught oral communication. It made sense, right? Why indeed would you listen and why would you allot time for something when you don’t gain anything?

The same concept was brought up, when a decade after my College graduation, I joined Toastmasters International (TI). For example, when delivering inspirational messages, it is not enough that you tell a story. There must be something that the audience will get from your speech. A practical advice, a snippet of wisdom, or a joke that they can repeat perhaps? Even an impromptu speech, which in TI sessions should last from one minute and a half to a maximum of two minutes and a half, the “lesson” is looked for by the speech evaluator.

Now, this thinking might be true in speech presentations. It’s also true in making investments or venturing into business. But will it also be useful to apply in all areas of our life? In friendship? In loving relationships? In making plans for the future? In doing our activities day by day?

Partially, yes. In this fast-paced world, time is essential. Money is significant. Fame and connections may be helpful.

But there are some areas in life in which we should go with the flow, follow our intuition, and be at peace knowing deep in our heart that we did something to take care of ourselves or of someone dear to us. So take that unpopular course, enjoy your early morning coffee, take up that silly hobby, spend all morning in bed, and meet with that friend whose presence comforts you even if you don’t talk. ❤

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