Thursday 14th September 17
Thought for the Day..
“When you talk from the heart, people will listen with their heart”.
In 2004 I gave my first public speech. It was to a Women Leaders Group for BT. I was shocked to be asked and terrified to do it.
The planning was overwhelming, I couldn’t find the intellectual message, I didn’t have the confidence to believe I was worth listening to, I wasn’t known as anyone, but yet over 100 people were going to give me their ears for 45 minutes,however, I held onto the fact that the lady who booked me to do it had heard me talk to a small group about the importance of ‘Being Yourself’, she wanted the women in BT that she supported to hear my message.
I took my PowerPoint along, I stood on the stage to deliver it, and it all felt wrong. The slides did not reflect me, nor did they smoothly share my beliefs, values and story. So I abandoned the slides and instead I just stood for a few seconds and looked around the room. Every set of eyes had a need, a want and felt like they would be great to sit down with on a 121 basis and chat to. So that is what I did. I talked to each lady, looking at each of them, just as though we were on the sofa together. It worked. I talked with my heart, and they listened with theirs.
Over the last 13 years of public speaking I have never changed that formula. I have been offered Speaker Coaching, I have been tempted. But something inside me resists the help. I fear that my talks could become routine and my message would become a broadcast, not a sharing of my intentions to help and share. Every talk I deliver feels like the first time as it is usually the first time I have met the people sitting infront of me.
The world is undoubtedly changing around us, I don’t mean the economy, the politics, the environmental changes, here I mean the culture of communication. The transparency of the Internet and the overwhelming presentation of peoples perfect lives over the past decade has left many of us seeking a more honest, true and realistic picture of peoples lives.
Trust is a commodity that we thirst for. Who can I trust and who trusts me. Trust comes from honesty.
Anyone who broadcasts from stage or in social media an image of perfection and displays the ‘be like me and you too can be rich’, has seriously not plugged into the culture that we are all seeking now.
Inside this group, we have the most amazing real lives, lives that have been impacted by pain, adversity, trauma, joys and successes, along with days of challenges and failures. This is the real world. This is your story, and people want to hear it.
Yesterday I posted my daily plan here, it was ‘to revisit my speech content’. I sat, just like I did in 2004, staring at a blank sheet of paper, seeking my intellectual message, I wrote some ideas, then jumped in my car to a meeting, frustrated by my lack of progress. I was listening to The Chris Evans, morning radio show, and these words came from him… he was talking about Roald Dahl, and he used these words about a talk he had given “if you talk from your heart, people listen with their heart”.
It never ceases to amaze me that when you put out an intention of something you need to focus on, the messages come back to you. I didn’t go back to that blank sheet of paper, the message is indelibly written in my heart and I can deliver it and adapt the delivery to any audience.
This is not a perfect world, it never has been, but your journey of learning and the things you can pass onto others can provide such comfort to others. Make them feel ‘normal’, make them inspired to keep going, or find solutions just like you did. It is not weak to be honest, it is weak to lie to yourself and others. You are someone else’s inspiration.
I truly believe that our vulnerabilities are our strength, and a perfect market is formed when we can help others and people ask for help.
So, today, my thoughts are to stand up, be proud and be me, the imperfect version of someone who has loads to share and I know that you are the same.
Whether you are talking to yourself today, writing your book, blog or meeting someone, be you and talk with your heart. It is the kindest thing to do.
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