I was once talking to a group of teenagers about facing their fear of speaking in front of people. I brought up a story from my own teenage years – when I was once paralyzed by fear of speaking in front of others. The experience of public speaking was quite traumatic. While talking about it, emotions buried for years, burst out and supercharged. I was completely lost in it. As they listened to my story, the teens were completely taken with my message. They took it to heart and fully embraced it.
Their connection to the story was very emotional; it didn’t matter whether I used vocal inflection or gestures or prompted for questions. When hearts connect, nothing else matters.
That was a priceless moment that is etched in my heart forever.
In Bert Decker’s book, You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard, I read that people buy with emotions and rationalize with logic.
I also love Daniel Goleman’s work with emotional intelligence: Be aware of your emotions, have empathy to see/understand how your audience feels, and then channel your own emotions to connect with them.
When speaking to those teenagers, I learned that when a message genuinely comes from the heart, people will embrace it – and also you. The “sale” is automatic. You become emotionally intelligent; you don’t even have to think about it.
Others will love you even when they see you are vulnerable. Or maybe they love you because you are vulnerable – because you are opening up and sharing a story close to your heart.