Last week President Obama gave his second State of the Union. Instead of talking about the politics in his speech, I wanted to touch on the idea of expectations.
Expectations can be both a good thing and a bad thing. If people have an expectation that you are a good speaker, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say and will want to see you speak. This usually comes with you being an effective speaker, so that means that you are a good speaker and people want to listen. However, the problem is that if you don't meet those expectations, people are going to walk away feeling disapointed.
This is how I felt during the SOTU. I have high expectations of President Obama's oration ability. He has consistently shown his powerful and engaging speaking style during his 2008 campaign and in his speeches since then. However, he did not come close to that in this speech.
So what can we learn from this? Make sure that you know what your audiences expectations are of you and work on meeting that expectation. If you don't, be prepared for people to be somewhat disappointed. When that happens, it could decrease the effectiveness of your speech.
There are several lessons we can learn beyond this, which I will be looking at in February's newsletter.