I am not sure I went into speaking when was a child to inspire, I just enjoyed it. I would get a distinction in Speech and Drama when I was 8, winning a speaking competition when I was 12 for a talk on puppies. I remembered every part of it, practising every day for months. It had been written by my English teacher and I had delivered it to a packed room of parents.
However, life took me in a different direction, and it was only as I started to do endurance-style challenges and become a researcher on the value of human connection that I ended up back on the stages again. What I found was that my work, research and own personal story was being seen as ‘inspirational’ and people were asking me to share, so I did. I’ve been doing this for quite a few years now and there are some key things that I have seen happen in teams from a single talk
Shift changes in mindset
People shift. They hear a story of someone else and they take one thing from it that they carry with them. A good speaker will weave these into the talk without the untrained eye even seeing what is happening. It causes a change in mindset and starts a shift in the neuroplasticity of the brain in the daily habits of a person. We often believe we need a lifetime for a change, but I know it can be the smallest moments that can have the biggest impact usually.
Encourage new ways in a team
The talk will encourage new ways of working within teams. Talking about what they learnt or what they took away; building it into the working practices. When I am speaking at an event I will see other parts too, the audience is usually restless in some way and you will see them get up to the toilet, shift in their seat and such like. They are listening to the event but will they make changes from it? When I come on stage, as I do the talk designed for them, there is a silence over the room, no one is moving, no one leaves, they are held in the place, it unifies the room and bonds them with each other as a team, I see it and always wonder, where will they take this as I know they will.
Connection and relatability
As a speaker, the things I have done are maybe not that relatable. However, the stories and work I share about leadership, kindness and ways of working, are things that are relatable. It bonds people to the talk and ensures that people take away top tips. The stories of adventure are weaved in to keep interest in me as the speaker.
I always ask, what did you take away from the talk? It is always something different from people, sometimes it is a connection, and sometimes it is something they will do differently from now on. They go on to learn more. However, those answers are what every company that hires speakers should focus on because they are able to ride on the back of the wave to understand their people, and also their organisation, better.