I was attending a pre-conference social event. As an icebreaker they set up a fun competition between tables: Which table could correctly answer the most trivia questions?
One question provided a quote and then asked which famous business person said it. The options: Jeff Bezos, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, or Warren Buffet. At which point one of the younger people at our table asked, “Who’s Jack Welch?”
So I don’t make any false assumptions about my readership … Jack Welch is the former CEO of GE who between 1981 and 2001 grew the value of the company by 4000%. He was lionized by many as the standard-bearer for CEOs.
But … Welch retired 13 years ago. His legacy is receding into history. For anyone under 35 – that is, for any millennial – the name “Jack Welch” is all but meaningless.
The point? To connect with your audience you must first know your audience and then use examples and stories that are relevant to them. Your frames of reference may be different from theirs.
Don’t start with you. Start with them.