Do People Listen When You Speak?
To become a radiantly attractive communicator, 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, you need first to connect with your inner speaker, the purpose of your message, the space around you and then with your listeners, before you even open your mouth.
Are you thinking now, “Geez I don’t want to change the world, I just want staff to follow our new policy,” or “All I want is to rustle up a few new clients with this little talk.” Who cares about being “radiantly attractive”?
Well, let me explain dear reader. A sense of connection is more powerful than words. Communicating from the heart, fully present with other human beings, creates acceptance and understanding… and take-up of your ideas. There is a sense of “oneness” which is healing for all – speakers and listeners. The ability to connect with others is radiantly attractive to all people. It is the defining characteristic of inspiring leaders and great communicators.
- Connect With Your Inner Speaker
The core belief that we are separate, isolated or different from everyone else, generates uncomfortable feelings of self-consciousness, fear of rejection and doubts about self worth. Connecting authentically first with your inner self, then with others, is a simple and effective remedy for our western epidemic of social isolation and fear of you guessed it, “public speaking.”
When you feel connected to the self, you are connected to your foundation. This is a place of great peace, stillness, strength and clarity for many people. When you speak from this place, you speak in authenticity. Your presence carries a natural charisma and authority without trying to be something you are not.
Connecting first to your inner speaker occurs at the beginning of all powerful presentations and conversations. It is also described as “being present.” It takes only a few seconds. Simply do this by:
- Consciously take a moment to pause,
- Feel your feet on the floor and take an even breath in and out,
- Focus your attention on your purpose in speaking, not on yourself.
- Connect To The Purpose Of Your Message
Before you begin writing or speaking, be clear about the purpose or intention of your speech. The word “purpose” means “an intended or desired result” (Macquarie Dictionary, 1990). Without a sense of purpose, your words can appear directionless. Your listeners may miss the point because you did too. When you are clear about your purpose, your listeners will be clear too. It works really well to ground your speech with: “The purpose of my presentation today is….” or “What I hope you will learn and take away is…”
Help yourself to become a radiantly attractive communicator by asking yourself:
- What is my purpose in speaking today?
- What outcome do I want?
- What do I want my listeners to remember or say about me?
- Connect To The Room
Before you enter the room or just before you speak, tune into the space around you. Again the time it takes is mere seconds. The “space” refers to your surrounding environment on every level.
The term “holding the space” refers to the skill of balancing your awareness simultaneously with the 4 aspects of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual connection when you communicate with others. It is a skill requiring a high level of self-awareness and emotional control. Speakers who learn this skill deliver with greater impact, communicating beyond mere words. Their words are radiantly attractive, bypassing the mind and head straight for the heart.
To give you a real life example, I once attended a coaching conference where the opening speaker held us spellbound. His quiet, slow paced story (mental space) caused us to wait in relaxed silence (spiritual space) as he strolled across the room (physical space) to pour himself some water. It could have been his living room. By witnessing a normal, human event, it connected us to each other (emotional space). Rather than “him up there and us down here”, he gave us a chance to pause and take a drink too – we were all in this together.
- Connect To The Audience
It’s now time to connect with your listeners… it takes only seconds…
Take a breath, feel your feet on the floor, make your intention to be 100% present and available to the human beings in front of you. Offer eye contact to someone in the audience who wants to be with you; they are leaning forward, smiling and waiting.
Begin your first words to that available person and then move onto the next willing-to-be-engaged listener. Speak directly to them. Open your story. Speak from your heart. Show you understand the problem they’ve come to hear you talk about, because you’ve had that problem too. Explain how you overcame the problem and how by the end of your presentation, they will understand how to do it too.
Connection is ultimately far more important than content. Your content may be spine-tinglingly brilliant and world-changing, but it you fail to build genuine trust and rapport with your listeners, they will not listen. Your brilliant words will not be heard.
Physiologically, when we soften our eyes, our whole body relaxes. Imagine your eyes are resting in hammocks when you softly gaze one listener at a time. Having the ability to sustain, comfortable, relaxed eye contact builds trust and rapport – in effect, you are saying without words, “I hear you, I see you and I am with you.” Fundamentally, I think this is something we all want deep down. And as speakers, we definitely want and need, our listeners to hear, see and be with us.
Do You Want To Be A Dull, Miserable Communicator? Is That Working Out For You?
So does being a radiantly attractive communicator still feel like overkill? Are we waving the stars around and do they still feel too far out of reach? Just think about a time you were bored silly at yet another meeting, presentation or party. It doesn’t need to be like that again. Everyone wants connection, acknowledgment and attention so why don’t you be the first to offer it when next you speak? And what you will likely receive in return, is radiantly attractive listening. Wow! It works both ways.
We know when a speaker leader is present with us and we know when their mind and spirit have left the building. We feel the absence of presence just as much as we feel the thrill of being in the presence of a radiantly attractive communicator.
One last point: be aware that as the speaker, you are “on” from the moment your name is called and you take the floor (even it’s it just the family dinner table), right through to leaving the floor and finishing. Your listeners’ eyes, minds and emotions will be engaged and assessing you before you even open your mouth. Your integrity (who you are and what you stand for) is always on display. Yet another reason to understand why it is so important to take time to connect first with yourself, the purpose of your message, the space and the human beings in front of you.
Listen to your inner voice…. your radiantly attractive communicator is calling your name next.
(A great book to read on this topic is Lee Glickstein’s “Be Heard Now!”)
(c) 2012-17, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au