The New Baby and You
Posted by Presentation Skills on June 1, 2009
Last week I was speaking with a new client and arranging some dates for coaching. I asked how his diary was for early June. He replied, ‘It’s full. My wife is expecting our first baby and I will be very busy. Can we look at a bit later down the track?’
Now being the proud Dad of the 2 most beautiful little girls in the world, I asked him if he knew what he was going to have. He nervously said he didn’t and was feeling anxious about it all. I assurred him, ‘Mark, you are in for the best ride of your life! It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but it will be the best journey that you can possible go on. I hope you have a little girl as they are the BEST presents a Dad can ever have!’
His response to that surprised me. He said that he was glad I had told him that as most people just said that his life as he knew it was going to end. He’d been told that in 20 years he might see some money again – if he could get the kid to move out! He’d been told that all his fun was going to end and was not sure if he really was ready for that. He’d heard this from a number of people.
Now we have all been guilty of spreading this sort of stereotype and generalisations – me included. But have you ever stopped to consider what the impact of this ‘standard response’ is on your audience? Do they fully understand your mindset and background when we pass this type of comment?
When we share our ideas, we do not always know where our audience is and what they are thinking. Potential fears and anxieties (all very natural just before a new baby arrives!) will shape how your message is heard and interpreted. Humour will often fall flat and be totally ignored!
Where possible, learn a little about what is important to your audience and frame your message so they will understand what you are saying. This will give you a greater chance of delivering your mesage in a way that your audience takes it on board and adopts it as their own.
I have not heard if the baby has arrived yet, but will let you know as soon as it comes along.