I’m guessing you’ve heard that learning how to speak and how to write well are two of the most powerful ways to grow your business, get promoted, or raise funds and friends. It’s true. Why? Because of something the author Charles Dickens said more than one hundred years ago: “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” We all need and want encouragement, and as speakers, we can be the source of that encouragement.
Speaking is a personal, vulnerable experience for the speaker and the audience. By its very nature, we are exposing ourselves for the “world” to see, hear and judge. Deciding to open up our world to others, especially publicly, is a courageous act. By attending, our audience is placing their trust in us. That’s why, to me, the only thing that makes this worthwhile is to speak my truth with love.
When we find the truth we wish to express, feel it deeply, and deliver it with passion and skill, we bring an electricity to our audience that is contagious. When we come alive, we invite our audience to do the same. This transforms lives in big and small ways, whether we are educating our audience on a program, pitching a product or service, or seeking to motivate our audience to adopt our ideas.
I first experienced this early in my speaking career. I presented my workshop, Communicating from Your Authentic Voice, to a group of women looking to make a fresh start. I had written a book on Finding and Following Your Authentic Voice and, in this case, used my seven practices as a way to assist my participants to speak their truth. I believed deeply in my message because I had struggled for years to overcome my fear and speak my truth. I wanted to be a vehicle for others to free their own voices and give their gifts to the world.
I noticed one woman immediately. She had tats on her arms, lots of piercings, and a huge frown on her face. She was probably in her mid-20’s – it was hard to tell because clearly she had been living a tough life. She stayed silent during the entire two-hour workshop. I asked her direct questions, gave her opportunities to share, and approached her personally during the exercises to offer my support. None of this worked.
At the end of the workshop, as I was gathering my materials to leave, she came up to me. Honestly, I thought she was going to tell me this had been a complete waste of her time – something no speaker wants to hear! Quite the contrary, she told me no one had ever encouraged her before – that speaking her truth was a dangerous thing to do. She said, “I’m going to sign up for more workshops right now.”
When she walked up to the desk to register for another workshop, I just stood there. My whole body was vibrating. Goose bumps covered my arms. I knew something powerful had happened. I had experienced the power I held as a speaker and I felt deeply humbled. The power of the platform came with the privilege of responsibility. I understood what Napoleon Hill had said: “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
So, what does bringing truth and love into your speeches look like?
1. Make sure you know why you’re communicating your information and only say what you know to be true to the best of your ability. Know why the information is important for your audience, and why it’s important to you to share it.
2. Know what you want for your audience. Do you want them to leave inspired, happy, fulfilled, prepared to move forward, what? How will this add to their lives? Let your call to action be the first step they can take to experience that.
3. Love yourself for speaking, and love your audience for listening. Love for the sake of the connection you are creating. You may never know all the ways you impact others, but you can know you are.
We all have the potential to impact lives. Our gifts – our tools – are truth and love. As speakers, we can consciously bring them into our presentations, and at the same time, keep the power of the platform in mind. It’s an awesomely humbling and rich journey. If you’d like to explore coaching, I’d love to have a conversation. I can be reached at Andrea@AndreaBeaulieu.com.
Image courtesy of Pixabay user pplbuilder