If you are a speaker and I asked you: “Why did you become a speaker?” what would you reply?
The answer to that question is more important than you might think.
Today I had a speaking mentoring sessions with Singapore based speaker David Goldwich.
During our session I asked David: “Why did you become a speaker?”
He replied something like: “”I want to help and inspire people”…”
Later in our session we were talking about stories that he uses in his speech and he said: “I have this story that I tell from when I was a lawyer” and then he continues to tell me this story:
In his words”
“When I was a lawyer in Florida many years ago a man came in to my office and said that he wanted to sue his parents. As a lawyer I am supposed to help him not only take the case to court, but to do my very best to help him win over his parents. But I could not do it. Instead I ended up counselling the son and his parents to help them solve their underlaying problem. It was during this process that I realised that was not meant to be a lawyer but that I should take my communication- , negotiations- and story telling-skills and help people in other ways than just fighting it out in court.”
David told me this story as an example of how to tell a good story. It was one of his “story telling examples”.
I stopped him and said:
“This is not “a story”; this is “THE story!” – as in this is the moment that defined your life, the reason you changed careers and created a life of being a trainer and speaker.
It is not “a story” – it is “the purpose”. It is the reason you became a speaker.”
He, of course, knew that that event was what got him onto the path of becoming a speaker, but over the years that event had become more and more of an example of story telling, and less and less a reminder of why he became a speaker.
Some people might think that speakers become speakers for the money, for the fame, for the kick you get from being on stage, but the truth is that there if very often a life changing event that got us into speaking. Or a message that the speaker in his (or hers) heart thinks that the rest of the world needs to hear.
In my case I started my speaking career 20+ years ago (1994) when I, as a 27 year old student, saw the potential of the Internet and got more and more frustrated about how companies at the time had no idea about what the Internet was. I just felt that they had to know. I felt that the world would be better if companies grasped this opportunity to change and become more efficient. (I know it might sound hard to believe that business people would be unaware of the Internet but in the mid 1990s that’s how it was…) Over the years the themes that I feel companies and people need to understand has changed, but it is that urge to make the world better by making the world see what it does not yet see that drives me to speak.
What got you into speaking? What’s that message that you felt had to be heard by the world?
(Re-)Connect to that powerful force that once got you into speaking and I promise you that you will become a better speaker.