In honor of Valentine's Day, I want to talk about love for a moment. Have you heard the expression, "Love conquers all?"You may not know this, but it's part of a line from a poem by the Roman poet Virgil; the complete line is "Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love." (I didn't know this. I studied Classical Greek in college, not Latin....)
You might also be surprised to know that love is an important part of your presentation. I'm not talking about sappy, mushy, puppy-eyed "love." I'm talking about the way you care for your audience -- wanting what's best for them and showing them your appreciation and gratitude for giving you their time and attention.
Not everything a speaker prepares for a presentation is a physical, tangible item like movement, words, and slides. A lot of speaker preparation is mental, as in positive thinking, visualization and reframing negative attitudes. Add to this mental preparation the concept of gratitude.
First, think about how grateful you are for the people who have come to hear you speak and the people who are organizing your speaking engagement. They're supporting your cause, they're looking forward to learning, they're wishing you success. Be grateful for your audience, because they're here to take in and spread your message. Be grateful, because without an audience, you can't be a speaker.
Then think about how grateful you are for the opportunity to share something you care about with this audience. Think about how fortunate you are to have people sitting and listening to your ideas and your message for 10, 20 or 60 minutes. Think about how lucky you are to help people and give them something relevant and useful that they can use right now to change and improve their work or their life.
Now, dig down and find the thing that makes you care about your topic. What is it that makes you want to do what you do? What is it that makes you want to share what you're sharing? Find that motivation, that emotional connection, that energy for your topic, and bring it out. Then give it to your audience.
When you allow yourself to show love and gratitude to your audience, you can't help but forget about your own woes and distractions. When you allow yourself to be open to creating a human connection with your audience where you give them all your passion and energy and receive it back, you will find your anxiety and nervousness -- if not completely conquered -- at least greatly reduced.
I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about Michael Jackson, a master performer and visionary for whom L.O.V.E. was a critical aspect of his success. Read it here.
I wish you much love and gratitude this week, both to and from your audiences. And I want to offer you a special Valentine's treat (no calories) to show my gratitude for you -- but grab it now, because the special offer expires at midnight EST tonight!