This morning I was interviewed by the Daily Mail http://goo.gl/yf7P0T
as being a woman who was influenced by Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love. There are a number of specific changes I made to my life but the really important one was the one that led to a sense of being Me.
I don’t aim to sound arrogant or self-centred. This is not about self indulgence; it is about self-regard and this is a critical factor in performing well on stage, on air or in meetings big and small.
I have carried out media training an d presentation coaching for hundreds of people in the corporate sector, the charity world and for individuals who have to confront their fear of public speaking.
I tell them one thing. Everything starts with knowing who you really are.
I once asked my ex-husband, the founder of Sky News, what was the quality he looked for in a great presenter. He said that they should be able to be themselves because this is what resonates with the viewer.
Whenever I train people we start with three points
• Know yourself
• Know your audience
• Know you story.
The second two points are a matter of research. There are plenty of communications experts, corporate story-tellers and PR specialist who can help business, charity and academic leaders gather that kind of information. Self knowledge is different. Only you can do it….and it usually takes a lifetime.
Confucius said no-one really knows themselves until they are past fifty and with the exception of people who survive great trauma – and even then it is not a foregone conclusion – this is true.
We live, we learn, we are.
This is what engages with an audience. This is what makes your message stick and this is what broadcast producers and conference organisers look for. It is the foundation of charisma.
So when I read Eat, Pray Love on a holiday to Boston, I knew my life had to change. I started with small changes and ended with a big one because I wanted to be Me. That was the big lesson I had to learn.
Best-selling author Marianne Williamson tells us that our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are Powerful Beyond Measure.
Her wonderful poem is here… http://goo.gl/EyVd0O
And before those who would wish to cut down the tall poppies can jump up and down her point is that by standing up and standing out we automatically give others permission to shine. Speaking up and speaking out is a generous thing to do. It just needs a little courage.
I began my effort with small changes about the way I live my life…. dinner at the table every evening, flowers on the table, meditation every morning, lately running every day…but they have all led to more significant changes and a feeling of depth.
I am sure that those on their way to the top of the corporate ladder may think I am a little Zen-like but I don’t think these I the summit thin k that way at all. I have spoken to some of them and undeniably a big part of leadership is compelling people to follow.
Good presentation is a powerful way to lead. Know yourself. The rest is definition, practice and repetition.
Elizabeth Gilbert wasn’t so much writing about a trail of discarded relationships. She was writing about the most important one we have; the one we have with ourselves.