All speakers have a core story that clearly needs to be part of every talk, whether speaking for 20 minutes or 2 hours. However, there is a second story that often runs in the subconscious and guides you to behave a certain way on stage or say wise things, as though you are channeling something far greater than your mind can come up with.
It shows in the way you pause, look at people intently, connect with them. It shows in your passionate energy, your silence, or your moments of rage (yes anger is healthy to show on stage to wake people up to an injustice).
This story is one that is vital to excavate if you are to go from an average speaker to a great speaker. Sometimes, you may not even tell this story; it just runs in the background and brings power to your message and presence on stage. But make no mistake, whether you choose to tell it or not, it is part of who you are; it is the big why of your choice to be a speaker and share your message.
This underground story often has a theme to it. It can be encapsulated in one word; the real truth of why you speak. Mine is Silenced. I have several stories experienced as a young child and a teenager that forced me into silence. It became painful to speak in class, to speak to people I didn’t know, to voice my opinions for fear that others would disapprove and then leave me. For years deep wisdom never left my mouth because of being silenced, and as a result, I did not help those that could have used that help. I did not achieve my potential in my work. I was not seen as a bright shining star, but more like a dim flicker now and then. My courage to be who I really was had left me.
I’m not sure that there was a defining moment in breaking through the silence, but I do clearly remember seeing Tony Robbins for the first time, so passionate and powerful in his message, holding nothing back. I knew for the first time at 28 years old that I would one day be a speaker. I felt a direct soul calling to speak without knowing why. I realize now after many years of personal development work that the urge to break through the silence was at play 2 decades ago as it still is today. The big difference today is that I use this injustice of being silenced to help me be more of who I am on stage; to bring out the vast aspects of what it means to be human, vulnerable and a messenger.
I used it to give others hope that they can do the same and break through their own silence.
Examine moments and years in your own life that seem to create a theme or a thread as to why you speak and what drives you to share your message or product. You may just find the silent thread of why you do what you do and what makes you a gift to the world.