The Man Behind The Paper
Recently a fellow professional speaker spoke to an audience of about 70. It was an interesting presentation. I enjoyed it. However, two members of the host organisation were not enchanted. One of them said to me, “OMG! It’s the same presentation I ‘ve heard twice. Nothing new!” I wonder how many others felt that way.
It got me thinking. Each time we present or redeliver a service, we re-earn our stripes again. It calls to question our willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn new ways to improve our client’s condition. It dawned on me that whenever we fail to add value or raise our service level, we undermine our accreditations and certifications. Ouch! Think about that!
It takes a lot of effort to create an engaging programme, let alone earn a professional accreditation. That notwithstanding, our accreditations and past reputation by itself does not solve any problems. It does not help the client improve; our new perspectives do. I believe we get rehired because of our past performance, however the past alone is not enough.
Therefore, it is not enough to replay the same canned presentation over and over. Like music, we must do remixes otherwise the audience does not need the artist of the man behind the music to be there in person. We must come with new instruments and different beats to spice things up.
My commencement speaker in 1997, Prof. Victor Anomah Ngu, (a former Queen‘s surgeon) said something that still echoes in my mind today. He said, “A degree is a piece of paper. Only the man-behind-the-paper can make a difference.”
Prof. Ngu‘s words continue to remind me that my clients don’t care what academic papers or certifications I have. There are lots of people with similar degrees, but not all deliver the same content. Thus, our clients do care more about what the man-behind-the paper brings.
As we go about our lives as educators, knowledge brokers or professionals in 2014, we must constantly ask ourselves what new ideas, insights, tools, strategies and perspectives we bring along to improve the lives of those we meet in the boardrooms and training rooms?
Whether you are an educator or not, whether you serve a few or a lot of people, whether you live in a countryside or city, you ‘d definitely have to interact with other people in 2014. Well, if you are a hermit who lives in a cave, ignore this idea. Otherwise, consider those you serve. If you do a great job, you as a person will be remembered, not your certification!
If we do this consistently, we will be able to transform the complaints of the critics into positive emotions. When that happens, our clients will enjoy the presence of the-man-behind-the high-paper. That’s the magic of having an artist perform live and not play the recorded music.