May 31, 2010

An aha moment



I love this series of commercials for Mutual of Omaha. They're about people's "moment of clarity... a defining moment where you gain real wisdom -- wisdom you can use to change your life."

I like this concept both as a speaker and as an audience member. As a speaker, I look for aha moments to help me improve as a speaker and coach and to grow in my career. As an audience member, I look for aha moments provided by speakers with great insight and passion.

Some of these commercials are particularly moving. I can only link to the page, not to an individual commercial, but check out the young woman on this page, Stacey, with the title "Sobriety opened my eyes."

Your stories may not bring tears to your audiences' eyes, but can be authentic and powerful in their own way. Funny? Great. Embarrassing? Awesome. Horrifying? Go for it.

Use your stories the way the people have in these commercials, to instruct and inspire with your own aha moments.

I shared a big aha moment in my panic attack series... my aha being that, not only is it okay for people to know that I struggle with panic attacks, but that I can actually help others who are dealing with anxiety, because of my own experience.

Have you had an aha moment that could be part of your next presentation? Please share in the comments!

4 comments. Please add yours! :

Brian Clough said...

Speaking of 'Aha moments' I recently came across this article on Science Daily. Here's the first few sentences ...

ScienceDaily (May 14, 2010) — "A recent study provides intriguing information about the neural dynamics underlying behavioral changes associated with the development of new problem solving strategies. The research, published by the Cell Press in the May 13 issue of the journal Neuron, supports the idea of "a-ha" moments in the brain that are associated with sudden insight."

What's interesting for public speakers is the idea that aha moments are in fact the way most new learning takes place in the brain. Even though it may take several sessions of practice before you 'get it' - the actual physiological changes in your brain happen suddenly, not gradually.

Two aspects of this are exciting for me.

1. As I wrote on my site recently, people can get over their fear of public speaking suddenly, dramatically and in an instant. Indeed this research supports the idea that this is the only way such a change ever happens. It's more a matter of letting go of baggage than of 'personal development'.

2. As a speaker you can bring about a 'change of heart' in an audience member. Which is both exciting and humbling when you think about the effect your words can have. The article at http://www.no-fear-public-speaking.com/anxietypublicspeaking.html tells a moving story about how one such aha moment saved a marriage headed for the scrap heap.

Here's to lots of insight for you!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Very interesting, Brian. Thanks for the info.

As for getting over fear of public speaking in an instant, I've seen it happen with many of my clients, and I believe it!

I also think change can happen when a series of small aha moments lead to one big one that finally tips the scale.

Dr. Ricart said...

The first two links are broken

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for the heads up. Weird Blogger link appended to the front of the real link.

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