Now that I am a public speaking enthusiast (see last post), I thought I could use a little refresher on the ins and outs of delivering a TED worthy presentation. A friend of mine told me about Stand & Deliver, a tw0-day intensive workshop in Vancouver that promises to “hardwire your brain to your lips” – I was instantly intrigued.

I have been speaking in front of strangers for years – but usually around a board room table, pitching a new client, or facilitating a workshop. Getting up in front of an audience and ‘owning the floor’ is a whole new ball game. I think what intimidated (note my use of the passive tense!) me the most was having dozens, if not hundreds, of eyes on me without anything to break the tension. I am someone who feels things deeply – I wear my heart on my sleeve and you ALWAYS know when I am holding something back or when I have been offended. It is hard to hide your emotions when they are so damn strong!

Herein lies the challenge – how can you deliver a speech that will inspire people when you are so worried that someone might recognize the slightest emotion in you?

Two words: Embrace It!

What I learned at Bill Chalmers workshop was that everyone is dealing with their own set of emotions – be it embarrassment, frustration, sadness or extreme giddiness! The worst thing you can do is try and bottle those emotions up and stuff them deep inside you, hoping they won’t bubble up when you least expect it. Embrace your emotions!

What makes a good presentation? An emotional connection. We know that, and yet we struggle to believe it. In my last post, I talked about showing your vulnerability, and that was reinforced over these two days as I got up in front of a room full of strangers over 100 times, delivering speech upon speech in new and engaging ways. At the end of the workshop we were asked to say what we got out of the workshop and I had a Blinding Flash of the Obvious (see Bill’s website BFO Consulting!):

I came in wanting a “Bag full of Tricks to help me become a better public speaker.” What I left with was the awareness that I already have that bag…in the form of my “basket full of eggs”. My Aha! moment was realizing that everything I had done in the past, every random job, every skill or interest, even my Masterse in Mythology – each one was an egg, and I was collecting these eggs so that one day I would be able to make my omelette (meet Narrative Communications!).

Thanks Bill and Esther for reminding us that we already hold the key, and for inviting us to explore our light!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…

And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

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