In recent weeks I find myself becoming increasingly vocal about what I have come to term – and it is not with affection – directed authenticity. The type of communication – speaking, pitching and presenting – training that says follow me, come with me, and I will make you an authentic speaker. What doesn’t become apparent until you are in the room is that the missed part of the promise is I will make you an authentic speaker in my likeness.
It is not that these people don’t have the right to train success the way they have been trained. Nor the way in which they have realised success themselves. It is that they don’t know how to teach you any other way. And after 100’s of people through my workshops now – intimate, bespoke, with zero rah rah pump up elements – I have seen too many times the impact when being trained to be an authentic speaker does not start with who you are fundamentally.
In the Intensives last week, Sarah* came into the room with speaking experience under her belt. Knowing she wants to do a lot more of it. Knowing that it is necessary to build it congruent with her business first, before expanding what she speaks on and how she speaks to it. She came in looking for the way to shift to that second stage – the more motivational style of speaking if you want.
She is formidable in her space. She is investing in her newest business to scale it, and she deserves every bit of success that will come to her. And her personal story is one of triumph – the truth behind an outwardly successful professional career which encompasses alcoholism, mental health recovery and extreme personal transformation. And it is that story that she had been convinced was the one that people needed to hear.
But it isn’t, and this is how we got to what she really should speak on.
1. Do you have the right
We have to pull ourselves up and be very honest in answering the second most pivotal question – do you have the right to speak to this? And by the right I mean do you have deep lived experienced, a deep level of expertise, or a unique perspective, that is ALL yours to bring to the table. Because if you don’t – then it is not yours to speak to.
In Sarah’s* case she absolutely had this in two realms – her professional success and where she is taking that now, and her own personal story of triumph. Which is why the next question is critical.
2. What do you want to be famous for
There are two variations of this question that get you looking deep into your soul; the first is What Do You Want to be Famous For? The key to this question is if your answer includes any variant of ‘what I am told’ or ‘what others say’ then it is not what you want to be famous for – it is what you have come to believe is what you should be famous for. When we went deeper into this with Sarah* she realised she had no personal desire to become famous for her personal story – and she became crystal clear just what she wanted to be famous for.
The second variant of this which come up in one of our recent group training calls was a similar scenario…extraordinary success to executive level in an unexpected field, and a strong interest as a living breathing example of empowering women to do whatever they choose in their corporate career. And although I could sense this was important, I felt that it wasn’t locked in enough. And so the question became If you had to speak on this 364 days a year for the rest of your life would you be happy? It was in that moment she knew exactly which one she wanted to be famous for, and had the right to speak to, and it wasn’t the direction she was heading.
She may have sworn at me : )
3. Now strip it back to the just the best of you
Then we have to strip it back to just the best of you. When we know speaking is the next step in what we do, we tend to become focussed on just how we can add value, and we have a tendency to do one of two things.
Bring too much in, and as a result overwhelm our audience…which means your audience may well love you but they will rarely, if ever, remember what it is that you spoke on, what you were there to give them. Or we go straight to what we recall the quickest – and in this miss what really matters to our audience; our knowledge, our skills, our perspective, that sit in our blind zone – the things ‘we just do’.
In our rooms, once we are clear on the first two questions it is then a deliberate, neuro-science based, brain storming process to get out everything you know to be true, absolutely everything, and then we strip it back to what is the most powerful for your audience, with the most powerful content bubbling up from what were the blind zones, that without a deliberate focus on bringing the best of us to the table, would have remained undisclosed.
For Sarah*, this has not only given her a formidable keynote to build, it has unlocked a central piece of intellectual property which is heading straight to her trademark lawyers Monday.
What I love most about this is seeing in Sarah* exactly the same I have now seen in so many people. In her own words, a complete sense of peace, of being more relaxed than she can remember in a long time, and a fierce determination to own the space she truly wants to be famous in.
Which can only happen when you take the time to stop and unlock who you are at a core level – authentically - and now Sarah* can truly build a keynote, a signature speech congruent with who she is, and what she knows to be true.
Jacqueline Nagle has forged a successful career dependant on redefinition, evolution and left of centre thinking. Conceptualising and deploying strategies and projects which have driven rapid multiple 7 and 8 figure growth, selling business to ASX Co’s, taking on hostile installation as CEO in traffic control, an expert enterprise agreement negotiator with a 100% success rate with experience in recruitment, labour hire, mining services, industrial relations, construction, events and advisory. A speaker, facilitator and strategist, Jacqueline works with founding owners whose work is based on deep lived experience, deeply held expertise, or a unique perspective to drive sustainable impact through the creation of mental, positional and commercial strength