By Corrie Miller
When I first met my friend Taya, I was almost overwhelmed by her warmth, her ability to draw me in, to want to get to know her. I was so comfortable that I was almost uncomfortable with it! Instantly. To this day she remains one of my favorite people on this planet. The reason? That connection is rare and is so awesome when you find it.
In my 13 odd years on the media side of business I have always been intrigued by those people who can elicit an instant connection, and by the situations in which I find myself able to elicit that connection with others. I have always intuitively known how important that connection was but now I want to know WHY and HOW to do it every time.
Here’s what I think. And this pertains to presentations as much as it does to every day dealings with people. Of course I welcome your input and counterpoints…
I think it boils down to confidence; in myself, in my material, and in knowing that I have something that others want to hear/know/see. In my radio job that could be as simple as a free movie pass or concert tickets! Today, it’s more complex, sharing information on how to engage your audience, even if it’s just a one-on-one meeting. I am amazed how much of that confidence or intimidation in a situation is entirely perception-based and resides solely in the grey matter between our ears.
When I am relaxed, confident, and feeling grounded, I am relaxed, confident, and grounded in my business dealings with others, and in my personal relationships. When I’m not feeling all of those things (having an “off” day), I have struggled to put on that business face and it just doesn’t flow the same way.
As for perception, what I’ve discovered of late is that the people I meet are nowhere near as scary, as intimidating, or as MENSA level genius as I’ve built them up to be in my head. I’ve been proved wrong time and time again. It’s refreshing!
Everyone is learning. Everyone has insecurities. Everyone can do what they do better.
And, everyone can gain from being vulnerable and authentic in their dealings with others, and in their presentations. The key notes or TED talks I’ve watched that really get to me are the ones that connect on an emotional level where the presenter appears genuine, and by way of letting that guard down and sharing a story, vulnerable. Here’s how U2’s Bono does it with a comment on global poverty at this year’s TED 2013 conference in Long Beach.
Vulnerability. Not something I’ve been comfortable with in a work environment. Controlling my emotions and projecting what I perceive to be acceptable to succeed, yes, but standing up in front of a room full of strangers or even acquaintances and really and truly being myself? MMmmm…scary. Will they LIKE the real me? Isn’t the old adage “Never let ’em see you sweat”? Isn’t it still sort of prevalent today? Maybe connecting with other humans is about being willing to be vulnerable, tell a story in your voice, make it real.
Janice passed along a blog post that talks about letting the walls down, even in business. Being real with others builds trust. Trust builds relationships. And relationships are what life, and business, are all about. Have a read.
Sage advice from Sara Wachter-Boettcher of the Pastry Box Project. Thank you Sara!
To Your Voice,