By Daniel Kingsley
I don’t usually read The Sun. But sometimes I do find a copy lying around at a train station and I do have a leaf through with the avid curiosity of a visitor to another world. A story published in the first week of January caught my eye. According to the paper, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 10 women had given up their New Year’s Resolutions to diet by 2nd January!
Assuming the story is true, this tells us graphically what we already know – New Year’s Resolutions don’t really work.
The reason I think that NYRs are so difficult to stick to is this: we are often trying to make ourselves do something that we think we should do, but we don’t really want to do. And this means that our intentions are divided. Our conscious intent is pulling in one direction and our true feelings (which are often stronger) are pulling in another. This split leads our energies being diluted, which makes it really hard to follow through.
Something similar can happen in the realm of public speaking, where as a speaker we may be speaking about something we think we should be interested in, but the truth is, we’re not. As audience members, we can often spot a speaker who is talking about something that doesn’t really light their fire, or even worse something they don’t believe in. All the words are in the right place, yet that special something is missing. There’s a sense of a person expending energy and trying to convince us, but there’s a sense that their heart isn’t really in it. And that’s a shame for both the speaker and the audience. Both end up having a really dis-satisfying time.
In my experience, decisions and resolutions seem to work much better when I wait until all the parts of me are on-board with them, and until then I chill out, do what I actually want to do and give myself a break. Similarly, my public speaking works so much better when I’m really on-board with what I’m saying.
We believe in encouraging people to lead less divided lives and reflecting this in the way they speak. It’s refreshing for audiences to hear people say what they really mean and talk about what they really care about.
It may feel like a risk to choose a topic that is close to your heart, or to admit that there are some sections of the ’corporate line’ that you don’t buy into, but this can be the start of a real conversation, one in which both you and your audience feel alive, and where real meetings and transformations can occur. You may not be able to do this in every situation, but if you start saying what you really believe, you may discover that you have more room to manoeuvre than you imagined.
So next time you find yourself giving a presentation you don’t really want to give, ask yourself what you really do want to say to this audience. See if there is a theme that you really can get behind (that won’t get you fired), and talk about that instead. You’ll have a much better time, and so will your listeners. Everyone’s a winner. You can celebrate with a cream cake.
To discover your potential as a speaker with authenticity and presence, check out our Foundation workshops.