In my book, “Break Free From JobJail®: 8 Proven Steps to Freedom,” and when I speak to clients, I always reference The Relevance Factor™, a process and service I have trademarked.

As I explain during the introductory portion of many presentations, when delivering a message to any group of people, on average only 25 percent of what is being said is heard by the “audience.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s the President or the CEO of the company speaking to a division, the entire company or just his/her executive team. Nor does it matter if it is an outside speaker, team leader, supervisor, teammate, colleague or other person speaking to others.

Why 25 percent? I often note that every person has a personal radio station tuned in; it’s called WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me. And why not? We’re all human and these days there is so much that is begging for our attention. In the workplace, the average employee/audience member may have issues on their mind (the following is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Dinner after work
  • A “date”
  • Vacation plans
  • A health issue(s)
  • Conditions at home
  • Economic distractions
  • Daily agendas, “to do” lists
  • Project deadlines
  • Results of recent project
  • Personal biases about the topic/meeting/speaker
  • Filters they put in place based on those biases

That’s just a start and already it’s quite a lot for a speaker to have to face when he/she walks in the room. That’s why it is imperative for that speaker to understand The Relevance Factor™. If not speaking to The Relevance Factor™ of the respective audience, then the next step is resistance by individuals: opposing forces to hearing the messages.

So how does one get the audience to hear 100 percent of the message? A speaker must:

  • Learn in advance what the might be the items of interest of the respective audience before your presentation and connect their interests to your presentation.
  • Anticipate the influences on the environment with whom you will be presenting and devise a connection of the circumstances to your presentation. For example: I was asked to give a keynote the day after the NCAA men’s basketball tournament came to an end and a winner crowned. I was to speak about cultural shift to a group of 75 executives for this one organization. As I mingled with the audience during the continental breakfast before my engagement, all I heard was conversation about “the championship game” the night before. What were the chances they would be interested in cultural shift first thing the morning after? (Contact me at to learn how I made the connection.)
  • Obtain relelvant information about your audience so that you can find something in common in which to related your conversation.
  • The sooner you can identify and address specifically what is on the minds of other—in other words, what’s most relevant to them—the sooner you can align your words and actions with their priority of values.

The Relevance Factor™ increases your communication effectiveness exponentially. The result is the path for you to inspire employees, partners and/or colleagues.

The choice is yours!

Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates. He is a business visionary who guides organizations through cultural shifts. He promotes environments that inspire collaboration, transparency in the pursuit of strategic outcomes and heart-felt desires. Reach Stuart via email: