Do you struggle to appear strong on stage? Do you have a hard time promoting yourself for future speaking opportunities? Here’s the first step to solve both these challenges:
Look around you on any given day. You are surrounded by people who hide behind smiles (or maybe bark to keep you away). They cover up mistakes, shortcomings, failures, disappointments, fears and heartache. They hope you will never notice their flaws. None of these people are particularly remarkable or memorable … until you know their true story.
As a speaker, you cannot afford to be unmemorable.
- Unmemorable doesn’t inspire.
- Unmemorable is a waste of everyone’s time.
- Unmemorable doesn’t get invited back to speak.
An up-and-coming speaker in New York sent me a video of her competition speech last year, asking for feedback. If I had a checklist of requirements for a solid speech, she would have check-marks all the way through – great voice, good command of her language and staging. She’d obviously had some theatrical training and was pretty confident in her ability. There was something off. She was not memorable. She was playing small.
Turns out she was hiding something. She was hiding an ugly truth. It had morphed into a tall tale that painted her in a much more favourable light. The story was unremarkable, and so was the speaker.
When we peeled back the layers and I heard her TRUE story, I was riveted. “Now THAT’s something worth speaking about!” Sadly, it was too late for the competition, but she took these words to heart and brought the speech closer to the truth to deliver to a woman’s group a few months later.
It was a hit! She was invited to speak at more events!
The greatest audience response I’ve had were to stories of my failures, bad decisions, vanity, laziness, assumptions, ignorance and … what I learned from playing small.
Hiding your ugly truth serves no one when you hit the stage. Your audience can’t put their finger on it, but they know something isn’t right. It takes a speaker of great strength to admit faults and take full responsibility for shortcomings to a room full of strangers.
“Humility is strength.
Strength is remembered.” ~authentic Carol Carterism #28
Everyone in that audience wants to know how to triumph over adversity, or at least how to know they are not alone in their pain. When you level with them, they will identify with your struggles, root for you, feel your pain and share your triumph.
You’ve been given a stage and the eyes, ears and precious time of the people in that room. Why play small? Why try to paint yourself in a more favourable light? Why pretend you are wonderful and perfect when you have the chance to make a profound difference by simply speaking the truth?
“Liars don’t inspire.” ~ authentic Carol Carterism #29
Honesty and courage to own your past, present and future – THAT inspires. If you present your truth, and don’t die, it means the rest of us can come out of hiding, stop pretending, and start solving our problems.
Bring your humbling stories to the stage and I promise, you will never have to wrestle to promote yourself. Others will lift you up and make sure you continue to be heard … because you are honest, strong, and memorable.