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The force of words – expressed effectiveness

The last time I got to be showered with applause, while rejoicing in the moment and looking at the smiling faces in front of me, I realized again how much I love being a speaker. Which is almost grotesque, because there is one thing I never wanted to become: a speaker. And that has one tremendous reason – in the truest sense of the word.

Everything, BUT that!

You must’ve long noticed that I never tire of drawing attention to the fact that there are always two sides to any medal. Sometimes we get stuck in a tunnel vision and only see one side to what is possible, true or real. It was already while I was in school that I realized I’m good with words; that I suit the stage well, the appearance; that I stand up for my beliefs and motivate others to discover their possibilities instead of getting stuck with their (apparent) shortcomings. Sounds like just the right prerequisites for being a speaker, right? However, my deep aversion to the profession was based primarily on meeting one man whose motives may be honest, but the effects of his performances scared me deeply.

The dark side of power.

At first, I only knew him from the videos of his lectures. These were impressive, since they outlined clearly the power and presence this man brings to the stage. A splendid speaker with the best performance, whose audience is not to bear one second of boredom or empty content. His message is extremely personal and in its own way thrilling in all meanings of the word. There is nothing wrong with all of this. As a speaker, I don’t need to step onto the stage if that is not exactly what I want: inspire, move, touch and sweep them off their feet. So, what was it that always made me feel at unease while watching this man perform? After I went to one of his lectures for the first time, it suddenly hit me: here, someone wasn’t using his strength to strengthen others. Right here, human weakness was bare to the bone. In the end, there was an audience in need of support. For which of course he had just the right solution to.

Take it literally.

People, who risk their neck with careless talk. Boasters. Seductive talkers. Abusers of words. I was so disgusted that everything in me was initially directed against the entire speaker industry. My tunnel vision was stuck on the flipside of the speaker’s medal, which led me to temporarily blend out the fact that it is of course MY very own business, how I perform and why. What reasons do I have to motivate myself and others? Motivation now is a word that I take very literally. Like the use of words. Yes, as a speaker, I want to move people. I want them to get moving. Ideally, even after they have listened to my speech, because that is when my doing becomes truly effective. Those negative experiences made me realize that being a speaker brings a responsibility and it is essential to be aware of it. Moving? Yes! Always towards yourself, never towards me! That is the compass. YOUR compass.

Be strong and truthful in the words you speak.

How do you feel after a lecture? Strengthened or weakened? Did it awaken desire and courage within you to go YOUR way or the speakers’ way? To follow someone? After I myself experienced the power that words can develop, it was even more important to me, to be true to myself and become aware of my responsibility. Of course, I talk about myself. About my story, my experiences, beliefs, values as well as ideals. About our best life. About the fact that courage always pays off. I am glad to have realized why I am talking about it. And that’s not because I think I know the truth to everything or because I want someone to adopt my beliefs, values and ideals. But because I know how much develops from within us once we start following our own path. And that’s what’s close to my heart: when people emerge from my talk strengthened and motivated, to walk their walk with more courage and trust.

Who empowers you in your pathway, who weakens you – two simple questions that are the best compass in your best life.

Pictures: footprints Fotografie & Potsdamer Dialog

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© 2024 Janis McDavid