Reflecting on my own career, it struck me what an advantage it was that I was a willing and decent speaker.
I have noticed in watching others’ careers too, that the ability to share your ideas in a compelling way is one of the key enablers for people to stand out, get promoted, get their projects supported, and to be effective leaders in general.
Better communication drives better outcomes. Plain and simple.
Sometimes this is viewed negatively — when the person has the reputation of “all talk” and no substance. I’m not here to say that that never happens.
But what also happens is that…
…Super talented people with tons of substance get passed over because they don’t represent their ideas well.
The trick is to do both.
Be excellent at your work and your communication.
The really good news here is that you don’t need to be showy, or even a particularly gifted communicator.
And the best way to be compelling has nothing to do with your natural talent for speaking.
I have learned in my own career and from watching others who thrive that the most compelling communicators do 2 things.
1. They are authentic
2. They prepare their content with a mind toward being truly impactful to the listener
Preparation will beat an unprepared natural communicator every time. You just need to find the right hook to inspire and motivate your audience — something that they really care about.
My Secret Weapon
In the spirit of being authentic, I want to share with you one of my secret weapons.
His name is Neil Gordon.
A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to be more intentional about improving what I did on the stage as a speaker.
I’ve been a professional speaker for many years and have done well. But I wanted to try to elevate my work more for big, main stage keynote opportunities. After working with Neil, in those big keynotes, the feedback I’m getting has gone from, ‘Oh, Patty, that was really great thank you,’ to people clutching their hearts and saying, ‘Patty you moved me.’ — and I’m talking about executing business strategy!
As a result of rethinking my content and the art of telling stories, with Neil’s help, people don’t just listen but they become emotionally invested in what I’m saying — exactly what you want as a speaker.
I remember thinking, “Man, I wish I had learned these lessons when I was in my corporate roles”. It would have been super-relevant and valuable, because, as I mentioned, one of the things biggest things that makes a leader stand out is being an effective communicator.
Over the past 2 years I have started to incorporate the lessons I have learned from Neil in all of my communications, including my writing, my webinars, my meetings, and my sales calls.
Increasing your impact as a speaker
Any time I am communicating, Neil’s lessons are with me. I’m thinking, “how can I prepare this in a way to make it the most impactful for my listeners?”
The other secret I learned is that the more prepared I am, the easier it is to show up as my authentic self, in my authentic style, because my confidence is fueled by my preparation. I don’t need to worry so much about being a good enough communicator because I know the message itself has value.
If you are interested in learning what I learned from Neil, either to improve your speaking on the stage, in corporate presentations, or to improve how you generally communicate ideas in your work, check out this short video which was my first introduction to Neil.
Although his work is directed at professional speakers, I have found the content of his work to be as important for internal meetings and presentations.
The key idea, which is very simple to implement, in this one short video in had a huge impact on my ability to engage my audience. If you want to be a more effective and compelling speaker, check it out.
What do you think?
Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.