Because Not All Skills Are Equal...
Public Speaking Mastery
Tom Cruise is one of my favorite actors, and apparently I am not alone in my estimation of him. To say that he commands attention and draws crowds would be comparable to me saying the same of the Seven Wonders Of The World. Tom Cruise stepped into the spotlight with the movie "Risky Business" and he has never looked back. His mastery of reaching out and connecting with others serves him well, regardless of the platform he is speaking from. He routinely commands whatever "stage" he is on, whether it is the movie screen, a late night talk show interview or his interacting with others in small groups or one on one. And for his communication skills, Tom was paid Seventy Five Thousand dollars for "Risky Business, two million for "Top Gun," twenty five million for "Minority Report,"...and he will receive 20% of "profit participation" for his latest venture "War of the Worlds."
The intriguing thing is that most human beings will consider Cruise's achievements and elevate him to a level that they prematurely conclude is not possible for them! Tom has ascended to a level in his ability to communicate, connect with and influence others that I dare say most think they can never reach. And I am not referring to Hollywood stardom here. I am saying that very few people will look at Cruise and say to themselves, "If he can learn how to communicate on such levels, then anyone can. I can. And I will." No, by far, most will say to themselves, "Wow, I wish I could do that. I wish people would listen to me the way they listen to Tom Cruise...I wish I could ask for what I wanted and get it the way he does." Now, did you notice a pattern of words here? By far, most human beings do not listen to themselves when they are communicating with themselves. And if they do not listen to themselves, they preclude the possibility of learning and improving their skills, their experiences and the quality of their overall life.
And why would I expect anyone to listen to me...
If I do not listen to myself?!
This is perhaps a leverage point for you to consider, making a decision to really listen to yourself, and not only that, but to do it without judgment. Listen to understand. Listen to enhance your self-awareness. Listen because you care. Listen with the intent of considering whatever you hear from yourself, whatever you see and feel as you are communicating with yourself as simply useful information to move forward with as you build a rich life for yourself and those you care for. Useful information that can inform and guide you towards healthy and rewarding outcomes you have chosen. And if perhaps at some point you find yourself judging yourself, simply accept even that without judging, accepting even that experience as useful information to learn from. By honoring such information, you will be in effect honoring yourself.
Just what is it that has made Tom Cruise such a powerful force and personality that commands the attention he does? It is not one thing, of course. It is a combination of factors blended together for good. What is required to master the stage as a speaker, whether your audience is composed of fifty people or one? And especially if that audience of one happens to be you...communicating resourcefully with yourself! What goes into the making of someone who can walk into a room and own that room, all the while fully respecting everyone else in that room?
· Congruency: by congruency I mean that what you believe, and the internal pictures and images you make, and what you hear and say to yourself, are all lined up and going in the same direction. Instead of pushing or pulling yourself in different directions, you are operating as an integrated whole resulting in internal and external congruency. This shows up in your ovrall behaviors, your tonality, and the specific language your unconscious mind gives you to communicate with.
When you show up at a meeting or a party, or when you arrive home to your family, how do you show up? Are you thinking, feeling and making a mental movie that clearly expresses your belief of how eager everyone will be to see you and be in your company? That they are eager to hear from you and to be heard by you? That level of congruence will manifest itself, you can count on it. Conversely, if you show up thinking, feeling and making a mental movie that expresses your own self -doubt and self-recriminations, well, that will manifest itself as well. Because you see, we are all creative beings endowed with the power to create what we desire, period. The interesting thing is that your brain and your unconscious mind does not discriminate for you in terms of what you are creating. Your unconscious mind will accept whatever you give it to bring into your world, whether it is something healthy or not. Your brain will go in the direction of the images and pictures you give it and will follow your chosen words. So, if you communicate to yourself in words, pictures and feelings that others will not be thrilled to be around you, will not respect your opinions and ideas, you will most surely elicit that from those you are communicating with. To put it another way, your brain and unconscious mind will naturally create that reality for you. Please fully consider that congruent states and behaviors are powerful... more powerful than most are willing to understand. Congruent communication will produce results, even if said results are unintended on a conscious level.
· Rapport: The ability to connect with others on conscious and unconscious levels is like having a passport that will take you anywhere you desire to go. Your passport signifies that you are a safe and welcomed guest to be ushered in and treated warmly.
Connecting with others begins with having rapport with yourself. Respect and honor yourself, then move on to respecting and honoring your fellow human beings. Count yourself as no more and no less than your fellow human beings. Judge no one. Simply accept that each human being does the best they know how, given their model of the world.
As you communicate with others, respect their right to choose for themselves their beliefs, their values and their behaviors. And if you believe you can be of service to them in any way, you can ask them if they would find that helpful, or not.
· Outcomes: Before you begin any conversation, be it with a large audience or with an audience of one, consider what outcome(s) you desire. Be clear with spiritual movies . If you were to make a mental movie of your desired outcomes, how would the movie be scripted, what behaviors would be played out, what would the emotional tones be as the movie progresses? Make sure your outcomes are well formed. State clearly what you want, not what you do not want. Make sure that what you are wanting is a good fit for all other contexts of your life. Saying you want to work seventy hours a week for the next six months might not fit well with your outcome of spending more time with your loved ones, or in making sure you give your body a good workout four times a week. And, be certain that the outcome you have chosen is really worth going for, that it is worth the investment of your time and energy.
· Calibration: As you are communicating to others, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the feedback coming your way, especially on an unconscious level. Communicating successfully requires the willingness and flexibility of making ongoing adjustments in your communication. Trust your unconscious. Learn how to trust yourself and all the rich resources work on what we call an "unconscious level."
Are there additional factors and skill inherent in mastering public speaking? Yes. Yes. Yes. Meanwhile, what I have shared with you is something to consider and to enjoy as you imagine gaining a higher level of skills, beliefs and behaviors for wildly effective communication. A level that elevates you to a place where you naturally connect with others and influence them in the direction you have thoughtfully chosen, a direction that reflects a deep regard for those you are communicating with and for what is important to them, as well as to you.