I just completed the second week of my corporate speaking workshop. This is my first time teaching a 7-week workshop that ends in a showcase I call, “A Night of Kick Butt Inspiration.”
Right now, my students are focused on finding their ideal topic to speak about (their “core premise”).
To help them, I came up with this formula:
“You know how people have trouble with insert problem? Well, I’m going to show you how you can insert solution.”
I was pretty excited with the results, because the students who’ve completed this exercise all came up with fairly solid premises on which to build a speech. But what was even more exciting for all of us was the NEXT exercise - because it did more than just help them use their head to come up with a topic. It opened up their hearts -- and they discovered why they have a burning desire to share their stories.
The question to start the exercise was:
“When in your life were you at a place when you were so down that you really needed inspiration?”
After a little time to ponder, everybody started talking about those certain moments in their lives: the day they got fired, when they were bullied, the time when they were too broke to buy food -- and other things way too personal too mention in a public blog.
When each student revealed that most trying time -- it became obvious that how they dealt with it was their most authentic premise - because it came from the heart.
To build on those insights, I told each person in the class to imagine a specific person, maybe someone going through the same difficulties - or worse -- who really needed to hear their message in the audience. This person could be a parent, a boss, or for many, even a younger version of themselves.
Something about the realization of how what they had to share could change the life of someone close - or could have changed their own life - made material start to flow freely -- along with tears.
And that’s where I learned something. We speakers find that we speak most effectively -- about what we need to learn ourselves.
Author of The Comedy Bible, Motivational-Humorist, and Comedy Coach