Getting Over Yourself

October 25, 2012

Speaking lessons from Trader Joe’s


Okay. Not literally from Trader Joe’s (or Trader Joe). But from former Trader Joe’s President Doug Rauch.

I recently heard him speak and what makes me love Trader Joe’s is pretty much why I liked his speaking. It’s not that he did everything “right,” it’s that he was genuine and connected.

The “not right” part was the pacing, which he announced right off that he did. It was stronger when he’d stay still a few moments, but he was effective in spite of it. I’m not telling you to pace, I’m telling you if you’ll get the rest of it right, people will overlook things that could be distracting and feel connected. And they’ll listen.

He used a phrase in regard to what is expected of employees that applies to your speaking (as well as other things in your life): “Mess up. Fess up.” Except, apparently, for political campaigns, it’s a great piece of advice. When you “fess up,” you’re not trying to pretend you’re perfect and willing to move forward and get it right. There’s a humanity about that that is attractive.

Mr. Rauch also spoke about the importance of trust and said the 3 components of trust are: reliability, credibility, and empathy. While many are quick to claim or to work on those first two, it’s important to recognize that third one. So, in speaking, understanding your audience, their point-of-view, and their needs, and responding to those is equally important for gaining their trust. And without trust it’s pretty hard to get anyone to buy into anything.

He was friendly, approachable, funny, and delivered valuable information about building a brand as Trader Joe’s did. And his slides were simple pictures that underscored his point.

Humor is good. One of his slides which was used to support the point about the culture of the business was a bowl of yogurt–attractively photographed. It made his point and won’t be forgotten by his audience.

Once again, being genuine, interested, focused and open will make you a hit with your audience.

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