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How brilliance of speech turns you into a billionaire of the hearts

The speaker slam 2019 in New York was tough. There was only two and a half minutes for each participant, including me, to finalize a keynote. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, I learned shortly beforehand about another factor that made my pulse race.

Something is different

„You came across so confident and self-secure on stage – you’re never even nervous anymore, are you?” is something I hear a lot after my speeches. Of course, I love the stage. I love giving speeches, I also love competitive situations and I love that tingling feeling of excitement. All of this belongs together. To a certain extent, I enjoy the adrenaline factor before, it even helps me to focus. This time however, it was an additional challenge. I only realized shortly before the slam that we would not only encounter an extremely tight timeframe, but also a direct, openly jury evaluation after the speech.

Feedback for pros

It became clear to me immediately – the ten-member jury, led by top speaker Hermann Scherer, would give their feedback in an appreciative yet constructive manner and made it clear without hesitation, who they thought was good. I am sure each of the 68 participants of the slam had a special tension regarding this moment. For me, the anticipation of receiving the public and (excuse my French) no-bullshit assessment made my heart race. Adding to this, I’m being honest now, we had a little extensive celebration the night before with the other participants. Meaning, I wasn’t really the freshest version of myself, when I went on stage. 😉

Short speech, deep meaning

Two and a half minutes, filled meaningfully, please! That was the order. No, I hadn’t practised that before. No, I never stood in front of the mirror in the hotel with a stopwatch. No, I’m not rehearsing performances. That’s also something I am being asked a lot. Practising in this way is not my style. Which is not to be confused with the topic of preparation! Of course, I prepare myself. That is one of the reasons why it is essential for me before any performance to be able to have a moment of peace. To make myself sensible to the audience, to create a connection. Because everyone came here to take something with them. People are literally giving me their (life-)time. What exactly is it that I want to say, communicate and give them? It is not about my performance. It will only have its effect if it’s about the audience in the room. Every single one in there. And that includes me anyways. On stage, the rest comes along naturally.

The most destructive question ever

I have already spoken about the moment I became aware of my appearance and my body many times. After all, it was the key moment in my life when the force of my life began to turn against myself, fuelled by the most destructive question ever: why me? You can see in the video at the end of this post what my mother replied to this question and what I have changed ever since. A spot-on-landing within the given time. Applause. Silence. Time for feedback.

Tobias Beck strikes out

The most sizzling thing about a feedback situation is, above all, the comparison between self-perception and the external perception [> Comparatively valuable]. Where is my blind spot, if there even is one? What do others see that I can’t see? What’s good, what’s not so great? I am not interested in being praised highly, even if, of course, some belly brushes do feel good every now and then. I wish, like probably most of us do, that what I am good at is being seen. That where I can still grow, appreciative tips will be given and develop new potential in me. At this point, I would like to thank Hermann Scherer for his words and the honest respect for my performance as a speaker. And special thanks to Tobias Beck, who mirrored what is of extreme importance to me: “something I truly appreciate about you is that you have completely left the role of a victim. (…) you are a great speaker. There are a lot of people that have a bag full of experiences, but they aren’t great speakers (…) you will become a multi-billionaire of the hearts.”

I get to feel rich every single day because I have given myself the present of living my best life. To act on, improve and develop what I do best. What do you give yourself as a gift and how do you enrichen your life? What is your special talent?

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© 2024 Janis McDavid