….. knowing your audience is the most important thing but I miserably failed to adhere to this principle, at least on 23rd September 2014 at the CPA Australia Hawkesbury Nepean Discussion Group which was held at Penrith RSL Club.
When Duke Wolfgramm, an associate of Hall Chadwick, and the convenor of the CPA Australia Hawkesbury Nepean Discussion Group contacted me on 9th September 2014 to invited me a guest speaker, I asked about the target audience. Apparently most of them have their own accounting practice and they are close 40 years old. Based on that counter intelligence, I reluctantly decided not to alter the content/tone of my presentation. Needless to say neglecting to identify the profile of my audience was a huge mistake and I paid for that price dearly on 23/09/14.
I arrived at Penrith RSL on time and had an ample time of reviewing the presentation material. Duke greeted me at the front gate and he took me to the room where the discussion group will be held. As soon as I entered the room, I thought I was going to suffocate. Why? Because the discussion group members appear to be at least close to my mother’s age (close to 60)! As I have been invited as a guest lecturer for several occasions by universities, the targeted audience is usually around 20 years old (and 37 years old for MBA students) hence the content is designed to suit this particular age group, certainly not for my mother’s age group. Honestly there was nothing I could do hence I decided to improvise.
My commencement speech began in a very humble tone – “I should not be standing here in front of you because you suppose to impart wisdom of yours. I am probably half of your age hence half wise than you or perhaps less. I will be saying something you already know but please bear with me till the end. I would be delighted to hear any feedback that you may have for me”. I thought it was relatively a good start until I used the movie ‘Matrix’ as an example – my mother did not watch the movie and she has no idea about the ‘Blue Pill and Red Pill’.
Luckily later stage I was able to regain my momentum and ended the presentation at a high note. Apparently using some modern examples on CSR (corporate social responsibility) has stimulated them to engage more in sharing different ideas. Duke told me that he has not seen the members proactively involved in a discussion like this before. For that I was relieved.
I recall the memory of my first guest lecturer experience at University of NSW in August 2012. I thought it was the most difficult teaching experience in my life because merely it was the first time. However, being the guest speaker of the CPA Australia Hawkesbury Nepean Discussion Group contacted me on 23rd September 2014 was the most difficult teaching experience in my life because of violating my own rule – knowing your audience is the most important component of being a good guest lecturer/guest speaker.
I better get the list of AGSM MBA students so the same mistake won’t be repeated in Hong Kong on 13/12/14.