Ready, Steady….NO

I was coaching a group on their presentation to their Senior Leadership Team.  It was the end of months of research, weeks of discussion and development, days of practice.  Our session began.

The first speaker stood up.  She seemed relaxed, she smiled and then began to explain the assignment, telling in great detail what they had been asked to research.  Then she spoke about how her team had researched for quite some time before they could even identify their topic. She continued by saying that once they had found their topic, they started looking for new sources for research.

This is all before she had reached slide 2 of her presentation. I was completely disengaged and struggling hard to pay attention at all.

I was exhausted and she hadn’t really started yet!

Stop, stop, please, stop.

Don’t tell everyone what they already know (describing the assignment).  Don’t tell them what they don’t care about (how tough it was for you).  Don’t bore them (please!).

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.  That’s fact.

And it’s true for your speaking, for your website and for your networking.

You need to engage, interest and inspire people.

You need a story.

So here’s where you start.

1. Figure out what they (the audience) want to hear.

2. Discover what they care about.

3. Know what they know.
And then

1. Ask a challenging question


2. Describe a scene with an unknown element (a question to be answered, a mystery to be solved)


3. Tell them something true that happened to you


preferably, all of the above.

Yes, tell a story.  It’s the most engaging, interesting and inspiring you can be.

Here’s the thing though, you are probably reading this and nodding slightly.  Maybe agreeing enthusiastically or maybe you’re just scanning the text to see if there’s anything worth readying.

I challenge you to take this further.

What situation do you have in your life/profession/business right NOW that could do with a good story?

Where do you need to have impact and influence?

Who do you want to engage and inspire?

Figure it out this minute.  What story can you tell?  And share it below.  Really, don’t just move on to the next article, task or Facebook post.  Do it now. Share it below.

Ready, Steady, …..GO.

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2 comments on “Ready, Steady….NO

  1. The big maple tree came down last week. I measured its girth and determined that it was 116 years old, older than the house I’ve been living in for the past 5 years. Its trunk was solid. Fully alive.
    I watched the tree-cutters take it down. First the little branches. Then the bigger ones, till it stood, shorn, but firmly rooted. I watched momma squirrel come bounding out of her nest when they got close to her branch. She stopped stock still, halfway down the trunk, hearing the growl of the large orange truck and the buzz of the chain saw in the hands of the man in the aerial bucket, as if saying her goodbye before leaping away from the tree.
    Continual change. The oak tree out back had to go when the sewer line was repaired last year. And the maple? The electric company had been keeping its large branches away from the power lines for years. This year, the town put in new sidewalks on our side of the street. The workmen chopped away all of the big roots of the tree next to the sidewalk. After this, the massive branches on that side of the tree seemed to give up on their previous exuberance for life. The town declared those dying branches a danger to passers-by and said the tree had to go.
    The tree-cutters expertly felled the huge trunk, and sliced it up like butter with their long saws. After the tree-cutters left, neighbors seeking free firewood quickly offered to take away the logs. And now, only the heaviest of sections of trunk remain. Soon to be inhabited by colonies of insects recognizing a feast when they find it.
    If I am listening correctly to my guides right now, I need to stop criticizing myself for not being more than I am, and appreciate who I am and the life I am living right now. I need to choose what brings me joy.
    I do what I can to keep my feet in both worlds. I connect with the trees in my yard and follow their instructions in caring for them, to the best of my ability. Friends and I did ceremony to support the maple when the new sidewalk was being laid. I connected with the maple before the tree-cutters came and expressed my sorrow. And the maple assured me that all was well in the larger picture.
    I am one with Nature. And I am a human passer-by connected to a culture with its own cares and rules. I have one foot in each world, and these two worlds sometimes feel worlds apart. So where is my joy?
    Attempting to live a non-dual life in a dual world is my dilemma. It’s complicated!
    I am a 5-sense perceiving organism, and I am more. I am firmly rooted in the physical, and I am more. I receive glimpses of other dimensions of reality, but not all of the time. My branches are spread out to the sky, the air and the sun, only to be chopped by my society’s demands and expectations. My roots are undercut by structures limiting what there is to go around. I feel like I’m standing stock still, not making sense of events in the world around me, longing to leap away.
    Continual change. The world doesn’t stop. I believe in non-duality. If I didn’t, my soul would die right here and now, in the sawdust remaining where the maple once stood. I believe in a larger picture, in which the maple and I are inextricably connected forever. I don’t know how to feel that sense of connection in every moment, but in this moment I can feel the fibers of our mycelium moving as they knit under the surface of all that I see. Imaginary filaments of light and life. The endless web of eternal Being experiencing itself in all ways.
    I seek my joy through a clearer alignment of my dual self with my non-dual Self. The maple tree lives. I am its branches. I am its roots. A connected life spans dimensions. I, too, am a bridge. My authenticity is my strength. And thus I stand.

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