At an industry conference, I heard a speaker who has a reputation as someone knowledgeable in his field. He even talked about the high fees he charges for speaking and consulting, such as $15,000 for a speech. But he couldn’t get through a sentence without at least one “um” or “uh,” he went off in new directions without warning, and generally was hard to follow. Listening to him speak was painful, as I was never sure he would actually make it to the end of a sentence.
I found it hard to believe that he gets the fees he claimed, based on what I heard. He may charge those fees, but I don’t believe he gets them. What I mean by that is that I believe he has a fee schedule that says he gets $15,000 per speech, but he actually works for free, a reduced fee or a percentage of product sales. Having a fee schedule that says he is a $15,000 speaker sounds impressive, but if he does not deliver a $15,000 speech he loses credibility instead of gaining it.
This is an example of someone whose resume has outpaced his abilities. That is, his claims are greater than what he can produce.
There is nothing wrong with setting high expectations and promising great things. However, if you don’t deliver on those promises, you can do serious harm to your reputation and your future. This speaker damaged how I think of him with his poor performance, and I suspect I am not the only one who had that reaction.
Don’t misrepresent yourself, especially if your performance will not live up to your representations or your claims are easily disproved.