We speakers crave it.
And yet, at the same time, we are a bit terrified by it as well.
If we get on stage, or Facebook Live, or a webinar, or a podcast and tell our story and share our expertise, we wonder what will they think?
Then we worry that they won't show up to hear us speak anyway, and if they do, they will criticize us for sharing our truth.
Sharing what we're deeply passionate about is a scary proposition.
It makes us vulnerable. We lay ourselves bare and we worry about the rejection of the unseen “they.”
One of the reasons I love working with speakers is because I get to be the person behind the person.
I get to show the speakers the value of their message and why other people need to hear it. I love making my clients look and sound amazing on stage with their message.
But here's the rub. I'm not good at sharing my message or my passion for this work I do on a consistent basis outside of this podcast.
It's partially because I think they will think it's silly.
People, the they … They will think it's not important. They will think, eh, it's just speaking. Anyone can do that.
I have been personally challenging myself the past few months to show up consistently and be visible through Facebook Lives, through doing more webinars, and for pitching podcasts because I can't let the they stop me from sharing what I'm passionate about, and I challenge my clients to do the same.
How do you feel the fear and speak your truth anyway?
How do you not let the they get to you and stop you from sharing your message?
I know the speakers that I work with like to share their story to connect with the audience. But that puts us in a place of vulnerability.
Here are three questions to ask yourself so that you can speak your truth from a place of strength instead of a place of fear.
Prefer to Listen?
Question Number One: Am I Through the Story?
Am I emotionally through with the story that I'm telling?
On stage, we are asked to share about ourselves, to share our story.
You foster connection this way. It's the way the audience can learn best from you. It's the way that the audience remembers you.
The audience also has the opportunity to see themselves in your story. It's very valuable to share who you are on stage.
But it also makes us vulnerable.
To share your story without fear, it's important that you have thoroughly processed all the emotions around that story. You don't want to be on stage raw, emotional, holding back the tears because you're not through your story yet.
You want to feel in control of those emotions.
An example from my past that I love to talk about is when I was still a college professor, I was teaching an advanced interpersonal communication course.
Now, interpersonal communication is all about how relationships come together and fall apart. During this course, I was breaking up with my long-term boyfriend and I was really angry and really sad.
Here I was, having to teach college students about relationships and navigating breakups.
Those poor students heard about this friend I had that was going through a bad breakup more times than I can count in the semester.
I wasn't fooling anyone. Everyone knew that I was hurting and that the stories I was telling were about me.
I'm surprised I didn't ruin those students for life because it was a bit awkward that I was so visibly processing my emotions in front of students.
[Tweet “Before you share a story – be sure you are DONE with the story”]
If you are still processing then you aren’t confident or in control. This means you really start telling your story from a place of fear.
So, if you are through a story, emotionally, you are ready to tell it on stage.
Question Number Two: What’s the Morale of the Story?
The next question to answer for yourself before speaking your truth is “Do I understand what my audience will learn from me sharing this experience?”
Have you ever noticed how fairy tales always have a moral to the story? There's something that the audience learns by reading that fairytale.
This is an important concept for speakers to take forward because when we have a story where there's something that the audience can take away, learn from, or grow from, those are the stories that we need to be sharing.
Because the moral of our story can cause the audience to have a huge a-ha about their own experience.
When you're deciding whether or not to stand in your truth and to speak your truth, get clear on what the moral of your story is for the audience.
Why are you telling it?
What's the result it will bring about for each and every person in that audience?
When you know the why behind your story and how the audience benefits from it, it's easier to stand in your strength and share that story because, now, the story is not about you as the hero.
It's you as the guide presenting a message that the audience can grow from.
Knowing the why behind telling your story is how you move from fear to strength when you speak.
Question Number Three: Should Your Share the Story?
There is one final question to ask yourself so that you can feel the fear and speak your truth any way. And that is does this story really need to be shared?
Not every story was born for the stage.
I get it. I realize. I see all of the speakers out there sharing their “I was down on my luck” story and now I'm a multi-millionaire or “how I survived the jungles of Africa for 14 days with a Sharpie and a pen.”
There are all of those big stories of life and death, and love and loss, and yet some of those things: they don't need to be shared on stage.
You don't have to air your most shameful and humiliating moments for the audience to enjoy in order to be a successful speaker.
[Tweet “Rebel truth: Not EVERY story was born for the stage.”]
Ask yourself the question, should I be sharing this story or is this really something that I should share with my vulnerability posse, the people that I trust the most with my story and my deepest, darkest shame and vulnerabilities?
There is of course a flipside to this as well. Some people tend to discount their story because it's not some big, huge rags to riches scheme.
Small moment stories, stories that happen to us every single day are important, too, and they resonate with your audience. Don't discount them.
For example, in a speech that I gave a few years ago, I was telling my experience of moving to Hawaii and how everything seemed so foreign to me. I went to the grocery store for the first time, and little did I know, they sent me to an Asian market and nothing looked familiar.
There were no Cheerios.
I completely freaked out in the middle of the grocery store to the point where I called my mom because I was so upset and I was homesick and lonely.
That is a perfect small moment story because we've all been lonely. We've all been homesick.
How can you find smaller stories to tell if you don't want to share your big, ugly, vulnerable story with the world? Because you can be just as successful with those small moment stories.
If you are ready to speak your truth in a bigger way, then let's get you some support so that you can share your story and experiences with the masses. Apply for a Speak for Impact strategy session with me. It's a one-on-one call.
We can map out a plan for how you can make a bigger impact and be seen more in 2018 while getting paid to do it. Go to DrMichelleMazur.com/speak to apply.
Remember, when you have worked through the emotions of your story and you're clear on the why behind telling it – then you are ready to stand in a place of strength and speak your truth without fear.