Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Speakers of heart: A workshop in Amsterdam, a talk in London

My heart is racing ahead to the end of this month, when I'll be speaking and meeting with speechwriters and with women speakers in Amsterdam and in London--and I hope you'll join me.

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. 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.

In Amsterdam, I'm leading another session of my workshop Be The Eloquent Woman on 23 October, as a pre-conference session of the European Speechwriters Network autumn conference on 24 October. I've designed the workshop as a subversive session that doesn't urge women to lean in, get a confidence code or otherwise fix themselves. But we do talk about the context in which women speakers find themselves, again and again, as well as tactics you can use to continue speaking with great content, confidence and credibility. You can register for the workshop, the conference, or both. The conference is targeted to both speechwriters and business communicators. Americans traveling from the U.S. can get an extra discount of €200 with the code "eloquentwoman" entered at registration. I'm looking forward to seeing colleagues and friends at the conference, and hope to meet you there, too.

Previous participants have attended this workshop in London and Washington, and you can get a sense of what they had to say here. I love it when participants end the workshop saying they're now excited about public speaking!

In London, I'm returning to speak to the Fabian Women's Network on what goes into a TED-quality talk. Since I coach TEDMED and TEDx speakers, I often hear clients asking for help delivering a "TED-like" talk--usually a signal they don't want to follow all the rules of a proper TED talk. But that means you won't get all the advantages a well-done TED talk conveys.

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....

(Creative Commons licensed Amsterdam photo from MorBCN. London photo via Shutterstock.)

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