Have you ever ended a presentation, wishing that you had said something more intelligent or wondering if the audience liked it?
Have you ever experienced coming out of a conversation feeling empty and dissatisfied, as if it was something which had barely scratched the surface of what you inherently wished it to be?
Have you ever wondered how it would be like, to feel totally satisfied, enough, and complete at the end of every communication, no matter how it turned out? If you have experienced this before, you know how big a Win it is for both you and for the other(s) involved.
The key to always winning in any communication is to be authentic. Quoting Dr. Brené Brown:
“If authenticity is my goal and I keep it real, I never regret it. I might get my feelings hurt, but I rarely feel shame. When acceptance or approval becomes my goal, and it doesn’t work out, that can trigger shame for me: ‘I’m not good enough.’”
Authenticity is a buzzword that many of us seem to know and yet not know fully. I will be sharing more stories about it as we go along. Hopefully, as we learn together, you will discover it to be an insightful journey that is serving you well.
Winning does not mean that the other agree with you; Winning does not mean that the other believe you; Winning does not mean that you have impressed the other; Winning does not mean that the other will now act according to your wishes.
It simply means that you were true to your own experience at the moment of interaction, and that you expressed what is true for you, releasing the need to control or manipulate the outcome, however necessary that might seem in today’s world.
And that makes you present. And that makes your energy flow. And that connects you to your audience.
Last weekend, I delivered a short 30mins presentation to a group of AIESEC youth leaders in Finland. It has been a while since I gave a presentation to a group. I spent the first few years of my career delivering trainings and talking in front of a large audience, often numbering in the hundreds. Those years have been as damaging to my soul as much as they have been useful for my growth. Those were heavy days of uncertainty, rejection, self-doubt, fear, withdrawal, egoism, pleasing. I have, however, been blessed to have many great teachers along the way. They have helped me to come through these perturbations instead of getting lost in them.
On hindsight, I now see how that was a process which was necessary for me to go through in learning to stand in my own power. This power comes from a source of love and self-acceptance, not from force. It carries strength beyond what force can deliver.
In preparing for the presentation last week (yes, it is still critical to prepare even though we are talking about being present in the moment), I felt the familiar sense of anxiety creep up on me. Would I be able to inspire them? How would they see me? A part of me wanted to deliver something which will inspire and impress them, but a part of me felt uncomfortable about that intention. I decided to just tell my story, and to enjoy the process.
When I stepped onto the stage, I took a few moments in silence to check-in with myself and to connect to the audience. The fear and anxiety somehow dissolved away, and the rest of the presentation just flowed along. I think I missed out on one-third of what I had planned to share, and I added in stuff which I did not plan, but it didn’t matter. I was enjoying myself, and the audience looked hooked.
At the end of it, many came forward to share how they felt inspired by the story, and one mentioned that she was getting goosebumps a few times during the presentation. Hmm… I don’t think I talked about any spooky tales! It surprised me to hear from another that I had strong ‘stage presence’, and I definitely take that as a compliment. It was a very heartening moment, considering my multiple wounds from past experiences of speaking to an audience. I guess I have since evolved.
By the way, I hope you noticed the title. There is a world of difference between ‘winning a communication’ and ‘winning in a communication’.