🐘 The Recovery: How to win over an audience that has lost their faith in you

Ft. Adam Grant

You’ve just received the following feedback on a presentation…

‘I gained nothing from that session,
but I trust the instructor learned something from it.’

Now imagine that you’ve got to deliver a second presentation to the same audience next week. What should you do?

This was the exact scenario Adam Grant found himself in when delivering some training to some military leaders and he achieved an astonishing turnaround. His secret?

Don’t lead with your credentials…

Lead with the elephant in the room

Let me explain.

Our desire to come across as credible can get in the way of giving our audience what they really want; inspiration and insight.

Especially when we find ourselves presenting to people with far more experience in the field than we have.

That’s why ‘I’ll start by giving a bit of background on me…’ is a terrible way to begin a presentation to any audience, let alone an audience of experts.

As Adam Grant found out to his peril.

In this 118 second clip, Adam shares not just how to recover from a presentation disaster, but a technique you can use to open a presentation to any intimidatingly successful audience… 🍿.

Adam’s opener was brilliant. It showed self-awareness, humour and respect…

I know what you’re all thinking right now…

What can I possibly learn from a professor who’s 12 years old?!

Adam Grant

But most importantly of all, by addressing the elephant he was able to connect with the most sceptical audience members in the room.

They dropped their guard.

What he learned from the feedback afterwards was telling…

His inexperience was insightful because it gave his audience the opportunity to see their subject from the perspective of the people they were trying to lead.

It’s why one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as thought leaders is…

What makes my perspective unique?

The answer to that question unlocks another opener, that shows equal levels of self-awareness and respect, but also positions you as someone your audience should consider listening to.

I want to start with a confession…
there’s nothing I can teach you today, because you’re already good at this.
But what I might be able to do is explain things in a way that helps you better understand the perspective of…

When we lead with our credentials, it is so easy to fall into the trap of ‘I’m on stage, so I must be right, and you must be wrong…’

It’s an attitude that cultivates closed-mindedness.

Our job as speakers is to help our audience be curious and open to our ideas.

Addressing the elephant in the room can help us get there quicker.


MicDrop, my public speaking community for tomorrow’s thought leaders will be opening the doors to 20 new members in May.

16 of those spaces have already gone.

If you’d like to be considered for one of the remaining 4, click here to find out more.

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