Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, does a great job of honing in on what people want to know and communicating it to them. Case in point: the packed crowd at his #AskGaryVee meetup at this year’s SXSW Interactive conference. There’s not a marketer out there, nonprofit or other, who isn’t constantly expected to present and speak; surely there’s a lot to learn from someone so successful at it. So, what makes Gary Vaynerchuk a speaker worth listening to?
1. He knows his audience
He doesn’t think about people in broad demographics like “millennials.” He focuses on aspirations and/or pain points that an individual may have at that particular moment in time. His number one recommendation for being an effective public speaker? “100% of your energy and effort must be completely predicated on what brings value to the audience. The biggest problem (most speakers have) isn’t the content, it’s that people don’t understand the context of the room they are in, and thus the content never has a chance.”
Taking the time to truly understand who the audience is, why they are attending your panel or conference, what problems they need to solve, and where they are in their careers or lives seems to be important to his success as a speaker.
2. He cares about his audience
You can’t help but notice that Gary has a cult-like following. Many people at the #AskGaryVee session took the extra time to explain why and how much they love him before asking their questions. One man even ran to the stage to hug Gary after declaring how his advice changed his life. Gary’s explanation for all the love he gets was simple: “You know why you love me? Because I loved you first.”
Far too many speakers waste their audience’s time doing press releases for their company, promoting themselves, or selling their book. Having empathy and putting the needs of the audience before your own is a key factor in separating good speakers from great ones.
3. He’s authentic to his own style
Gary is a no-holds-barred kind of speaker who drop F-bombs at a rapid pace and insults without hesitation. It’s not something most nonprofit folks can do, but being authentic and letting a bit of your own personality shine through no matter what you’re presenting or who you’re presenting to can help you stand out from the crowd. Gary appears completely comfortable with who he is and what he says. At the sessions, he sprinkled in unpredictable, provocative, and some controversial comments throughout the discussion, which kept everyone on their toes and off their phones. Like it or not, his aggressive style makes for a very entertaining and interactive talk.
4. His energy is through the roof
Gary spent just 5 minutes introducing himself before setting the tone by yelling that instead of having a traditional panel, it was going to be a “straight up Q&A in your F*#@ing mouth!” It was certainly shocking, but also effective—it made me feel obligated to not waste my own time and encouraged me to actively participate in his discussion. This was not just an opening stunt either; he kept an incredibly fast pace throughout. I was glad to be fully engaged with someone who was clearly putting all of his energy into his hour of time with us. I was exhausted for him and appreciated his effort.
Overall, I left convinced, persuaded, and engaged, and will be putting lots of these learnings to use in my own presentations. I am sure he would be willing to answer any questions and provide more tips on how to get through to an audience. Just #AskGaryVee.