“You’re an Idiot and everyone owes me $100!” This year I spoke at WordCamp Las Vegas 2013. The name of my talk was called Your theme can do that too!. In my talk I stated some awesome sources and I gave, what I think was, my best presentation to date. My WordCamp Reno-Tahoe talk was pretty awesome, but this one was even better.
I’m really big into social sciences and studying people. It goes way beyond just being a people watcher on the strip or at walmart after 2 a.m. Something that I struggle with daily is simply trying to figure out how things are going to be taken, or perceived. For example, there is a huge problem with certain or specific words in every language. The technical term for something could be tomato, but someone is going to have a problem with that. So we have to say this other word. Even then though, someone is going to have a problem with that word as well. So how do you combat that? I want to hang out with everyone and anyone. I feel like I could learn a lot from everyone. The thing is that I don’t want to run an If-Else function through all of my friends to determine the right thing to say.
Think of it like this, I don’t want to do this:
“If Johnny is in the group, say Apple. If Ashley is in the group, say pear. If Ashley and Johnny are in the group, say Banana.”. So without having to do that, what else is there to do but to just say Apple and have ashley hate me for saying that. I don’t want to lose either of them, but I feel like it’s going to happen regardless, because I said it.
I feel like anyone else in the world can say something and it will result in laughter. I feel like if I said the same thing at the exact same time, and with the same tone and diction, the cops would be called on me. I don’t want to give up as a speaker, but I also do not want to keep getting complaints from people because I said something one way, and meant it one way, but it’s taken as another totally opposite way.
A coworker of mine put it to me like this: “You could be the most knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to a subject, but you can say things in a way that makes you sound like you know nothing about the subject at all”. I understand that. I also understand that I could eliminate all of this by never speaking ever again. Clearly that’s not going to happen. Yes I’ve even tried to not talk for a long time and all it got me was on a long list at the unemployment office. So what else can I do? I’ve done it all.
So I’ve come to a conclusion. I really do care what people think. So I’ve tried to better myself in every single way. I’ve even go to lengths of having a professional copywriter take the presentation that I want to give, and write it in a way that is suitable for the President of any country to say on national T.V. anywhere in the world. My father even had this talk with me when I was suspended from middle school for repeating something that someone asked me to say. I didn’t understand the context of the phrase, so I said it. His advice was that he and I both know that by calling each other a corner pocket, we know it means buddy. Someone outside the conversation might take that as an insult. So just be careful.
But my conclusion is this:
Everyone has their own boundaries. Everyone has their own filters. Everyone has their own way of doing things. So I see this whole thing like a dart board. I’m not going to hit the bullseye every single time. With a little hard work, I can get a better score, but there is nothing in my power that will help me change the opinion someone has of me. There is nothing I can do that will change the perception of an individual. I just basically need to say what it is I am going to say and leave it alone. Any suggestions, please let me know.