You can only prepare so long. Then it's time to show up and speak up. This article tells you how to narrate and relate - in a way that incorporates the HEART of your message.
I’m a professional speaker. One year I taught 135 all-day seminars. I received evaluations by everyone who attended each seminar. All the significance-seeking, triteness transformation, phrase refining and message owning that I did in preparation could never substitute for actual communication. I reached the point where I knew that by being one second off in delivering a punch-line for a joke, I would get half as much laughter. I also got to the point where I didn’t need to prepare much, because I had developed an extensive foundation I could draw from. I still practiced the SpeakSTRONG Method to deepen and develop my communication skills. I still sought (and seek) to bring more HEART to every word I spoke. But if you want to take your effective communication skill to the next level, there’s no substitute for experience.
Step 4 of the SpeakSTRONG Method is to take a deep breath and speak your truth. Narrate and relate. Say what you mean and mean what you say without being mean when you say it. Don’t worry if your words aren’t perfect – give it your best self and speak. Impart with HEART. Take in the response and keep relating.
I use the word narrate in part because it starts with the letter “N” and I needed a word that started with N for the STRONG acronym. But I also like the word for its connotations. Don’t just tell or report. Narrate. Tell a story. Relate. Share yourself in your words.
As a professional speaker, one of the most difficult things I had to learn to do was to be myself as I speak. Actually, even in my interpersonal communication, that has been one of the biggest challenges. Every time I communicate, a little more of me gets into the mix. Every day it becomes more natural to impart with HEART. My words become better windows to my soul – and they offer more compelling invitations to others to be who they are. So find the HEART of your message and just start talking.
Your words may not be perfect. Don’t let that hold you back. Yes, you’ll take some hits. At first, someone might ask you what seminar you just attended. Some might declare that you “used to be so nice” because they preferred a superficial level of relating. You might express a new level of honesty and get a deeper level of response than you’re ready for. Any time you operate at a higher level, you are likely to fall a bit flat at first or to feel like you’re in over your head. That’s normal. Just keep on Speaking STRONG until you wonder why you ever communicated any other way.