Women provide a unique ability to touch hearts and change lives. Sometimes we have a habit of dismissing that impact as because our credentials are not as impressive as other “big name” speakers who might be sharing a conference, or who spoke at the venue last week. Being a great speaker has nothing to do with credentials. It really doesn’t.
My oldest daughter is an opera singer. For years I sat in cold auditoriums while a class ran through their three choices of “Italian Art Songs.” Singer after singer, many with years of training under their belt, performed. Technically perfect, language mastered ….and yet …there was nothing there that made me ever want to hear them sing another note. The ones who captivated me, who held my attention had something more than training and credentials …they felt the music, they caressed it with their voice, they delivered it with their souls… and I was mesmerized.
I spoke at an international symposium some years ago at a University, where there were a number of classes offered on various aspects of social movements. Some had to do with media and one was on public speaking. After I finished my talk, given at the banquet that evening, I sat at a table of delegates and one gentleman leaned over and said, “You know, I attended the class on public speaking today, and according to our notes, you broke almost every rule of public speaking.” I laughed and was ready for him to really take me to task but instead he leaned closer and said, “Best damn talk I’ve ever
Speaking is sometimes strictly about sharing information, but a speaker needs to engage the audience. Something about your message has to mean something to them. You can simply entertain them for an hour, or you can push the envelope a bit. Is it enough for someone to say, “nice talk,” or “that was interesting, or ” that was funny?” Or do you want to know that somehow in the time you spent together you moved them and action will follow? I want to know that the movement was not about them thinking I am swell but an inward movement where what I am saying somehow kick starts their real teacher .. their own voice! That in that private conversation, they opened up and began to feel and experience the information in a way that was meaningful to their own lives, and the solutions that came to them were not mine, although mine might have inspired some ideas, but uniquely and wonderfully their own.
It is not about me. It is about each person who takes the time to come out to attend a conference , a workshop, or a discussion group. It is trusting that their hearts know best what is right for them and I am simply the tool that perhaps helps them to light that fire again and remember that they are stronger than they think.
When women stand up and speak out about who they are and what they know, it is powerful. A woman’s heart is a marvellous thing and trusting yourself, to be willing to share your unique experience …THAT is the magic.
Aria E. Appleford is a Canadian now living in Australia. Her unique combination of humour and deep insight entertains and profoundly moves her audience. She speaks on relationships, social issues, and spirituality drawing from her years of counseling and her own amazing life.