How to make an impact — great advice from Avery Blank

Avery Blank
Avery Blank, LinkedIn profile picture

Avery Blank’s Forbes article on how to make an impact is the little black dress of business advice: It works just about everywhere.

The article’s title points it to a specific audience:

How To Make An Impact At A Conference, Even If You Aren’t The Speaker

But the advice she offers can apply to just about anyone: People new to the business world. Writers new to blogging and other forms of content creation. Professionals unsure about how to get their colleagues to listen them in meetings. In fact, Avery Blank’s advice sounds a lot like the advice I give my clients when they speak. So onstage or off, these tips will serve you well.

The first one that caught my eye was

“4. Ask one question, not two.

If you want to make an impact, less is more. The more you say, the less people will remember what you said.”

Identify the core idea you want to address. And articulate it concisely.

“5. Share a brief, personal story.

…Personal stories make an impact on people. They elicit feelings that connect and bind people together. Stories hold the power of creating common ground.”

Create common ground and people are much more likely to connect with you. And you must find a way of connecting emotionally—authentically—with your audience if you want them to a) remember what you say and b) act on it.

Avery Blank says step up and own your ideas

Okay, she doesn’t say that it so many words, but that’s how I translate her first three bits of advice:

1. Raise your hand.

2. Stand on your two feet.

3. Say your name.

Blank means literally raise your hand, stand up, and identify yourself. But these things also work very well as metaphors. Pitch yourself for opportunities as they arise. Make yourself visible and make sure everyone knows who’s coming up with all those great ideas.

Avery Blank’s final point is also about connecting:

“7. Look at others in the room, not just the speaker.

…Take the opportunity to connect with the audience….The remarks or questions that add the most value are those that others can learn from or connect with. If you want to make an impact, speak to benefit others, not just you.”

“Speak to benefit others”—I added the emphasis above because that’s the key to everything. Whenever you communicate, whatever you communicate, always keep the audience in mind. Address their needs, stir their feelings, inspire their action.

If you can do that, it won’t matter whether you’re the headliner onstage or the person sitting in alone in the very back row: People will remember you.


Want to communicate more courageously? Click here to get my e-book Do It Anyway: Tips for Courageous Writing


Also published on Medium.

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