In a world of barely-average communicators, you stand out once you start using intention as the active foundation of your message. You may seem more earnest, more sincere, more “into it,” than your colleagues. You won’t blend in; it will be clear that you’re doing something other people are not.
For some people, that idea is off-putting. They don’t want to develop a reputation for being “on,” or too eager. They want to be in the middle of the pack. It’s safe in the middle of the pack. You’re not the worst, the one people dread, but you’re also not the one who sticks out, who seems to be trying harder than everyone else.
We have to reframe this. If it’s worth standing up in front of thirty people and speaking for fifteen minutes, it’s worth caring enough to stand out. That’s 7.5 hours of people-time, almost a whole traditional work day. How can you make that aggregated time valuable? What can you bring?
You can bring intention and preparation. You can know exactly why you’re talking. You can pare your talk down to one or two key messages, and give your audience several ways to engage with those points.
Yes, you will be different from the people who speak before and after you. You may also, over time, raise the bar of what it means to give a presentation in your organization’s culture. You’ll be consistent; people will learn to expect that you’re going to know your stuff, and they will start to look forward to the times when you’re in charge. You can help shift the understanding of what it means to take people’s time, value it, and offer something really worthwhile.