Gone are the days where you could stand on your soap box and sprout off any opinion you liked at any busy major intersection. Though, Speaker’s Corner near Hyde Park is still a popular spot for those with a milk create and something to say. Come to think of it, I might just try that next time I’m in London. With the presence of social media we are living in a noisy world. With just one click you can publish anything you like in any form on the internet. It seems everybody has something to say, but is anyone actually listening?
By building your platform you are trying to get above the noise. Get people to notice you and somehow like you enough to pay attention to what you have to say. Much like the milk create at Hyde Park corner. By building your platform you are also submitting yourself to the hecklers, the critics and the people who enjoy cutting down the tall poppies.
The extra height of your platform allows you to be able to look out above the crowd and see what’s going on, and to listen. Everybody wants to be heard but who is really listening? There is the old adage ‘give the people what they want’. In order to do this you need to know what they want and understand it. You need to be able to observe what is going on around you and see what is missing and what may be needed. There is also the Rolling Stones song, “You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.” Sometimes you might just need to be paying a little more attention.
I am intrigued by this concept of building a platform and I am probably over thinking it a little. But I want my platform to have solid foundations. I want it to be strong enough to withstand any battering that may come my way. I don’t want it to be just a milk crate that I could topple from at any moment. The one piece of advice I keep coming across is ‘build your platform before you need it.’ So this blog is my attempt to do just that. I’m not even published yet and I am trying to build and maintain an audience that is committed and involved. This is a very slow process and one that I don’t want to rush. It is necessary.
This is all not a new concept for me. I was once a member of Toastmasters International, a group that develops skills in writing and preforming speeches. So the idea of standing at a lectern is not a frightening experience for me. I could give the same speech, word for word, but each time I delivered it, it would be different. I would get a sense of the audience. I would change my voice according to their reaction. My tone or pitch or volume would change. I would make them listen, but not by getting louder. As a writer I don’t think it is very different. You need to get a sense of your audience and you need to connect with them and this isn’t achieved by just the words you use.
At the moment I am sensing that people want to be noticed. They want to feel appreciated. They want to feel that their investment of time or energy or effort is somehow going to pay off. I would like to comply. I do appreciate the time people give to read this blog. The effort they put in to keep coming back each week and if they find a post interesting they put in the energy to share it with a friend that might also find it interesting. I appreciate those that are committed enough to follow and keep reading each week and would like to encourage more people to do the same. This means a lot to me. And this is what it is all about. You can build a platform but you need to give a commitment to your audience and appreciate the commitment they show you.
So this week is a shout out and a thank you to you all. Please don’t hesitate in letting me know what you (the reader) would like from me (the writer). I am trying to inform and entertain as well as share with you my opinions and experiences on my journey to being an actual writer and not just yet another person with a blog and something to say.
I am listening and open to suggestions so please feel free to add a comment below.