Building a platform to communicate your Big Message is absolutely necessary to grow your brand, increase your impact, and elevate your revenue. The number of entrepreneurs I meet who are doing only the bare minimum work to build up their platform is alarming. Without a large platform, you’re essentially your industry’s best known secret.
You cannot be your industry’s best known secret and expect to grow your business to $1M+ or have the effect you crave on people, directly—or society at large.
Otherwise successful entrepreneurs are hiding in plain sight, and this hiding is keeping them at $40K months rather than $80K, from claiming their dream of having an agent who will land them a killer book deal with a publisher, and working entirely too much in the piddly shit that doesn’t serve their larger vision—just to name a few possible deficits.
There are tons of reasons why this fear of being seen on a large public platform is so prevalent, and today I want to talk to you about one in particular: the fear of provoking naysayers.
Naysayers are those that we perceive will evaluate and judge the work we put out into the world negatively, and by conceding to potential naysayers—before they’ve even had a chance to throw one heckle your way—you’re keeping yourself from building your platform and sharing your Big Message.
What’s really keeping you from building your platform?
According to Psychology Today, your thoughts are a HUGE contributing factor to how you’re going to show up with your Big Message. One perception noodling in your brain—that leads you to shut down and reject the idea of getting loud—is that the naysayers are gonna come for you. They will threaten your credibility, your image, and the opportunity to share your intended message to a wide audience.
If you view a platform growing public display as a potential threat, you’re closing yourself off from the opportunity to communicate your Big Message.
This means you sit there biting your tongue, holding back when you see something that pisses you off in your industry, quietly seething and not making waves of impact you have the potential for.
Because public speaking is one of the most notable opportunities out there for spreading your Big Message (including TED talks, TEDx talks, conventions and conferences in your industry and those that run in parallel to your industry, webinars, Facebook lives), let’s take a moment to look at how we as a population experience the prospect of delivering our Big Ideas on an IRL public platform (courtesy of Forbes):
- Roughly 10 percent of us absolutely adore public speaking. This would be those of us who are fearless when it comes to getting in front of a large crowd and actually get a huge rush of energy from the experience.
- Another 10 percent are the extreme opposite. Those in this group become paralyzed at the thought of public speaking. This is called glossophobia, and this contingency will do anything and everything to avoid speaking on a large platform due to experiencing panic attacks and extreme anxiety.
- The remaining 80% of us fall somewhere in the middle. This percentage may get butterflies, feel subtle anxiety leading up to the engagement, and, despite some discomfort, get through it. This 80% experiences public speaking as some blend of the other two 10% groups.
You can use these three categories as related to public speaking to gauge how you’re showing up in other ways, too. Are you a lover, a glossophobe, or fair-to-middling when it comes to:
- Sharing on social media in your feed and stories—as related to your Big Message?
- Facebook/Instagram Lives?
You can and should build the skills necessary to blast your Big Message. You’re not here to get a standing ovation or ten stars from the audience you’re seeing as judge, jury, and executioner. You’re not here to perform. You’re here to communicate and disseminate your ideas, present valuable information, and share your experience in the same way you do on a small scale.
Listen—because this is important: you’ve had enough conversations about your Big Message on a small scale—with your clients, friends, family, and random strangers in line at the post office—to PROVE that you are able to communicate incredibly clearly and effectively.
Fortunately, I’ve had naysayers since the day I graduated law school and launched my own virtual law practice. They prepared me well for the world of speaking my Big Message loudly, and even though I’ve been professionally delivering content from a stage since 2012—every single time I get in front of a group of people, even in something as casual as a Facebook live, I feel the butterflies. Managing the thoughts that come up around sharing my message has been the major shift.
There are a few thoughts about the naysayers I’ve had to learn to ignore in order to be completely present and show up right:
- What if there aren’t fiftymillion people listening because no one cares about what I have to say?
Well then, speak to the one person in the audience who does care. Or speak to a room full of people who don’t care, and maybe you’ll affect one person. But also this thought is really a non-starter because the likelihood that no one is listening is slim to none, Dismiss this thought as a distraction and get to work.
- What if they don’t stay because they hate what I have to say?
Are you biting your tongue? Are you being boring? Don’t bite your tongue because you’ll be boring trying to please everyone. If you’re boring they may not stay. But who cares? Show up boring. Show up entertaining. Show up. Show up fully and allow those who hate what you have to say to excuse themselves, because they’re never going to be your people anyway.
- What if they’re not completely obsessed with what I have to say?
This isn’t a performance. This is about creating change, impact, and value. Do that, stay true to your Big Message, and they’ll hear what they need to hear.
- What if they disagree with what I have to say and put me on blast?
I’ve had my ethics questioned, my name raked across the coals, and had to sue a business partner for disparaging my name and not holding up her end of our contract—but I’ve come through it with more resilience, more insight into my own values and beliefs, and gratitude for those who tried to quiet me. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have the courage of my convictions, which is a saying for a reason. #getitcrochetedonapillow
The naysayers are coming for you. Accept it now. Their mission is to get you to STOP with your big message because they don’t like it. It ruffles their feathers, rubs them the wrong way, or somehow triggers their own bullshit. Guess what? That ain’t your problem. And you can’t be worried about them. They aren’t your people anyway.
How often do you bite your tongue for the people who aren’t YOUR people? That’s not doing you or your people any favors, so the only thing to do here is show up fully—in spite of the naysayers who are most definitely coming. #getusedtoit
Show up for the people who need to hear your message and get really, REALLY grateful for the naysayers who are 100%, absolutely without question going to show up.
Here’s what you do the next time you get a naysayer in your court:
- Immediately write down what they said.
This allows you to manage your expectations about what may come up as you share your Big Message, and also communicate more clearly. This becomes your FAQ of nonsense that fuels your content. I’m a big fan of every single bit of naysaying that hits my inbox and comments.
- Measure your response.
Does their comment merit a response? Maybe. But maybe they’ve simply opened the door for you to correct them. Perhaps this is a coachable/teachable moment. Maybe this is a comment that simply needs to be ignored. But be sure your response comes from a place rooted in your Big Message and isn’t totally reactionary.
- Move on.
Don’t dwell on it. Take it in stride and keep going. Pivot as needed. They picked the right one to come for, and you’re going to straighten them out AND keep it moving, hunty.
If you’re fearing the naysayers, you’re never going to reach the impact or revenue you’re worthy of. Get grateful. Stretch yourself. Get loud. And build that platform.