Every professional speaker has a knee jerk reaction to the (very common) question: “What do you speak on?”
But not every professional speaker has the answer to the much more important question: “Why do you speak?”
Today I did a coaching session with Eric Feng, who is a very talented and extremely ambitious speaker.
Eric is doing a lot of things right in his speaking career and has achieved much more at a relatively young age than many much older speakers.
But he met with me because he wanted help to decide on which topic he should focus on (he speaks on a few different topics at the moment, like public speaking, business presentations, charisma).
Or that is what he THOUGHT he wanted to discuss with me.
But instead we decided to go deeper.
In a 2-hour long session I helped him to look inside himself to understand why he decided to be a speaker in the first place.
I wanted to get to his core. Find the theme that defines who he is.
Your Core Theme is not the theme that you sell to your clients, it MIGHT not even be a theme that you communicate to your clients.
Your Core Theme is for yourself.
It’s your guiding light that reminds you why you get up in the morning, why you have this urge to communicate.
I have to admit that during the middle of the session with Eric we were struggling. We were getting close, but for some reason we were not able to get deep enough.
Then Eric, in passing, told me a story about how he, as a kid, had stayed late in school and pretended that he was the teacher to teach himself a little bit more. He had this burning desire to teach.
When his class mates asked him why was he talking to himself, he replied “I am teaching myself”.
And when his classmates then replied “Can you teach us too?” he started his mini remedial classes in school.
As a young child Eric was already passionate about not only his own learning, but also the learning potential of his peers!
When I heard him passionately tell that story I knew that we had found it, or should i say “rediscovered” it.
The reason he speaks is because he has a passion for the potential of Learning and Development within All Humans.
That is Eric’s Core Theme.
Not “public speaking, business presentations, charisma”, those are “just” themes he speaks on.
When Eric found his “Core Theme” everything he does in his speaking business became clearer. His vision, his priorities, his focus.
And that is why it so important to find it.
My Core Theme is not official. By that I mean that I do not openly communicate it to others. But I have one, and it has guided me in all the decisions I have made in my speaking career for the last 15 years.
It’s like a compass, and when you have one it will lead you in the right way.
Judging from the email I got from Eric after our session, he appreciated the value of going into the core. 🙂
He wrote: “Thank you so much for taking the time to walk me through the process. This conversation will definitely be a turning point in my career. You helped me get clear of what matters most and for that I’m grateful.”
Question: What is your Core Theme? Why do you speak? I am much more interested in finding out that answer from a speaker than hearing what he or she speaks on.
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