My topics this month are women and public speaking, and TED talks. Both are dear to me, but fraught with tension, emotion, and challenges for speakers. TED talks, asking as they do that speakers be vulnerable and share personal stories, involve putting yourself "out there" even more so than a usual speech. And for women, knowing that they're likely to be viewed negatively when they speak, by both men and women, makes the uphill climb toward a speech even steeper. Knowing your're being judged might make you think twice about sharing what's in your heart.
But I've learned something from coaching lots of TEDMED and TEDx talks: The best ones are given by people of heart, as my fellow coach Peter Botting calls them. For the coach, that means I get to listen in on not just the emotional tone of what goes into the talk, but all the emotions the speaker is going through before, during and afterward. Many of the speakers I've coached have confided great difficulties they were struggling with alongside the talk, from extreme nervousness to a serious illness or disability. Sometimes, those difficulties are part of the speech: The talk may recall the not-far-off death of a parent or their own near-death, or another trauma.
Speakers of heart bring much onto the stage you don't see, but it all contributes to what they do there. We talk a lot about "authenticity" in public speaking, but these folks are the real deal. And getting you to that point is an underlying theme in my talk and workshop this month.
Since more and more speakers are trying TEDx talks--more than 9,000 TEDx events have been organized locally around the world so far--you may as well learn how to achieve TED quality in such a talk. I'm looking forward to joining FWN again, and fair warning: This free event requires registration and seats are already filling. The fact that we're meeting in Parliament, a sweeping setting, doesn't hurt. Check out the notes from my last talk to the Fabian Women's Network, and get registered today.
What's in your heart when you speak? Bring it to one of these sessions....