Last week, my friend Cathy sent me a link to an article written by a professional speaker in the Harvard Business Review. I don’t love the title , but I did love lots of the wisdom shared for speakers. (Sorry friends! Please don’t let it offend you. The content was so great that I decided to share despite the title and one colorful word. If you think you will be offended, you can skip the article and just read my thoughts on it.) Click here to read the article.
I realized that 2013 is my 10-year anniversary of my first official speaking event, and these are the things from the article that resonated with me.
- Speaking is something that you grow into. Although you may start with some natural talent, we all have to invest in growth. Some growth comes the hard way as we live through dreadful mistakes. Other growth can come from being taught through books, conferences, coaching, listening to other speakers, etc. It’s hard work to become a great speaker.
- Your best speaking will come from your greatest passions. Being a speaker isn’t the same as being in a speech class. In speech class, you’re given a random assignment and required to develop a speech. True professional speakers understand that we’re not experts on everything nor are we passionate about everything. Authentic passion transforms a message from mundane to outstanding.
- You’re at your best when you’re the most yourself. My greatest struggle is to avoid “on stage shutdown”. It’s my self-protective mechanism that dulls my personality, my movement and my energy. ”If they don’t know the real me, then their criticism doesn’t hurt as much.” That’s my subconscious thought. I loved this article, because the author emphasizes unleashing your true self. It’s the fastest and truest way to connect with our audiences
- You have to persevere through painful failures to become a better speaker. One of my favorite parts of the article is the author’s sharing of the feedback from one of his first events. It was painful even to read!! I have some stories just like that. As a speaker coach, I’d love to pretend that I’ve never flopped, but it’s just not true. I loved this author’s reminder that failures are an integral part of the process.
What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned along the way?