“Everything genius is simple.” So says one of my favorite Russian proverbs.
But let’s not confuse “simple” with rudimentary.
Simple doesn’t always mean basic. It doesn’t mean that it’s not well thought-out or cleverly designed.
In fact, more than likely, you’ll find quite the opposite to be true.
When I think of something “simple” in terms of being connected with the idea of “genius,” I always think “elegance.”
The best designs are pure. The most clever things make life (or business) easier, not more complicated.
A big rookie mistake most new speakers make is when they try to jam too much content into a 15-minute TED talk, or even a 1-hour keynote.
They get so ambitious about sharing everything they know, their whole story, that their genius gets lost in the jumble.
I once saw a big-name internet celebrity thought leader say that she was going to give us a 20-plus point checklist during her keynote. When I heard that, I was like, “Holy crap, that’s a lot to remember!”
But then when she spoke, it was more like 7 questions that she asked, with 3 action steps for each that we came up with by ourselves, in response to each question.
Still too much for the average brain to retain in just an hour, if you ask me. Especially when they’re listening to multiple presentations in one day.
You want the people locked on to you when you’re speaking, not with their noses buried in their notebooks as they frantically try to write down everything you just said.
Which is why sometimes you’ve got to strip it down and ask yourself:
What’s the ONE most important thing I want them to walk away with today?
If you had to boil all your genius down to a singular essence, what would it be?
It’s got to be something that you’re deeply passionate about, but that’s also profitable for you and transformational for them.
It’s got to be easy to remember and easy to act on.
It one small change that can make a big difference.
One little thing, something simple, that they can do on the daily to bring about massive shifts in their life or business.
What’s that one thing for you?
This is the type of question that will freak out all the commitment-phobes and have all my fellow introverts staring intently at their own bellybuttons as they try to narrow it down.
So maybe instead ask yourself this:
If you could be remembered for only one thing, what would you want it to be?
If there were such things as business epitaphs, what would you want yours to say?
I can tell you what I’d want mine to be: “She helped millions share their message with the world in their most powerful way.”
That’s the type of lasting legacy your speech should create in the minds of your audience. The ONE thing they will always remember about you.
And here’s a hint:
It’s got less to do with you than you think. It’s more to do with what you’ve done for THEM.