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Marketing / Business marketing

Seth Godin touched me

Well… his presentation style did! Just so you know, he probably wouldn’t like that headline, as he’s no fan of click bait tactics. Sorry about that Seth.

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I was fortunate to blag my way into a day-long audience with the main man recently and I enjoyed every minute. As an event helper, not even the carting around of boxes or sustaining my finest meet and greet smile for eight hours, could take away from my positive experience. 

Rather than rant sycophantically about his marketing genius, I’ll focus on my observations of how he engages a live audience and presents his knowledge. 

1. He makes good use of tried and tested material 

I’m not saying his stuff is old, I’m saying it’s not necessarily brand new. 

If a story you’ve used before is simply the best way to illustrate a point, then why not air it again? Seth uses storytelling brilliantly, and each story is backed up by a constant stream of personal observations and relevant anecdotes creating more and more rich layers. 

I use stories in my presentations, and I realise now that enriching existing material is far better than the endless pursuit of new content. It’s much like hearing your favourite band live – new songs are fine, but old favourites with a twist are nearly always the best. 

"He just gets ideas down and he gets them out. Some ideas resonate widely, some less so, but he doesn’t agonise too much."

2.  He’s a down and out kind of guy 

Seth blogs daily and his posts are magic. But as he discussed on the day, and displayed time and again, he doesn’t labour over trying to make every post brilliant. He just gets ideas down and he gets them out. Some ideas resonate widely, some less so, but he doesn’t agonise too much. 

As he said himself: 

“I try not to watch stats and I never read book reviews, good or bad.” 

What’s clear is that once you commit to a process like this your delivery gets sharper and sharper. A concept or observation may be 50 words, it could be 500. What matters is the core idea. 

Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.

3.  He sets boundaries and honours them 

Aside from learning that Seth had a son called Max (who is now called something else, but we didn’t hear what), we didn’t get any insight into the private life of the man and you won’t find it in his posts either. I found this truly refreshing. I’m over experts banging on about themselves (and intend to stop doing it myself one day soon). 

Seth didn’t fly half way round the world to please everyone, make new friends, and network frantically; he was here to inspire change. 

4.  He thinks deeply and is in it for the long haul 

In his work he avoids ‘newsy’ topics that won’t stand the test of time. This surely is a discipline that pushes him to think more deeply, as it’s easier to pass comment on current events, than it is to identify broader trends that drive innovation. 

Of his blogging Seth said: “I think of it as making art, not building a business.” 

In amongst all this, Seth also does something that very few people ever do well. In a room full of people he has an extraordinary ability to talk directly to an individual, remember a name for hours and truly touch them, as he did me. 

Have you been touched by Seth’s ideas, books, presentations or blog? Share your story here.

Robert Gerrish

is the founder of Flying Solo and helps soloists stay upbeat and energised. He’s recently published The 1-Minute Commute, is a presenter and facilitator and works one-on-one with those needing a refresh. Find out more about his skills and services and his Olympus Trip 35 camera side hustle or connect on LinkedIn.

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