A couple of decades ago, I had just moved to New York City, and was frankly, very poor. I had invited to give a speech at a political organization, a political club, it happened to be the same political party I was a part of. It happened to be the same political party that the president united states belong to. And at the time, I was also doing political commentary. Talking about politics a great deal, I thought this will be great way to introduce myself to the New City. I'd only been here for a couple of months.
And I brought my video camera to demonstrate everything. So I went, gave this speech. And I noticed right at the beginning, lots of stony faces. Then I was saying more and more positive things about the incumbent president who was in the party, that the members of this Club were devoted to and people were looking angry. I'm starting to make fun of the incumbent presidents political opponents that will that'll get them on my side. And they just got angrier after a while they practically booed me off the stage.
Some lady came up to me afterwards a young man, how long have you been here? And why do you think we want to hear from someone like you? That's just a disaster. No applause, not even a thank you. And just people kind of walking off. So what happened?
Well, it just so happened that every community can be a little different. And New York City, especially Manhattan is different from any other place in the United States. I had been living in Florida, North Carolina, the rest of my life, and I didn't know that much about Manhattan in Manhattan. The politics are much more skewed. And so you do find people on more extreme. So even though I was speaking to a political club of a certain party, they didn't like that incumbent president because they didn't think he was pure enough to their ideal.
So they only wanted to hear someone who was going to bash and attack the president of their own party, and he happened to be someone I liked. So and by the way, I'm not trying to be cute. I'm not mentioning the party in the person because what I have found is the second you do that everyone looks at you through a different lens. And if they like that politician, then they like you, but I didn't like that politician will end up hating me. So that's why being a little bit vague, even though I don't generally recommend that when telling stories. So I walked away from that, totally dejected and I remember at the time, it was April 1 19.
96 I just moved to town a few months earlier. They practically spat on me. It was that bad. So I'm walking away carrying my video camera my little briefcase slumbering away walking across town because I couldn't even afford bus fare camp their home. I was that kind of down and out. I'm figuring it can't get any worse than this and walking.
All of a sudden I look up. It starts snowing on me in April. I'm now freezing. I have no gloves. I don't have an overcoat on. I'm carrying stuff.
And thinking wow, I never should have moved away from Florida was definitely one of my worst speaking days ever. But you know what? You learn from that. Or you go home and quit. I obviously didn't go home and quit. I didn't do enough due diligence.
I should have gotten there earlier. really talk to people found out who they liked, who they respected what they thought of the current political environment, what they thought of the incumbent president. So that was my fault. I didn't do enough due diligence. I just made assumptions about the audience. never a good thing to do.
So why do I tell that story? Pretty obvious. I just want people to do more research on their audience before they give presentations. So they are not surprised by a negative reaction from the audience because they misjudged the audience. You can't do it perfectly every time but you can get there early and ask questions that will allow you to tweak your message in a way that may resonate. I'm not suggesting you just tell any audience what they want to hear.
But certainly, if you know, certain subjects are going to scare away people or distract them Some hate you if you want to go in another direction