Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Connect With Your Heart To Fill Your Audience's Need

My plan for today is to start writing some talks, presentations, preparing workshops in the personal development field. I have some outlines in my head so now I want to make them tangible but where to start?

Last night I read that I we probably don't know 95% of the people and resources who will help us turn our ideas into reality but by choosing to surround ourselves with people who will support our dream, the right people will come. That's quite a thought. So, I want to build my speaking career. By associating with positive, supportive people, reading the right material so that my mind is attuned, the 95% have yet to come in to my life. It is all out there and I have to trust that the right people, ideas and tools will present themselves when I'm ready for them.

So, back to where to start. I know, I'll just check my emails first. The usual distraction but justification because there is always something interesting or useful to read, to download.

Then this email came in, a newsletter from someone I do not recall subscribing to but must have done. Mark Silver received a question from someone who wanted to write a blog that would touch thousands but didn't know where to start. It is a long email and I only want to reproduce here the bit about speaking in front of a group. If you want to read the full article, I include the link at the end.

Help Is Drawn Towards Need
Stand up, with no prior preparation on a moment's notice, in front of thirty-odd people and deliver a healing talk to them. That's what we made our students do when I taught in the Teacher Internship Program at the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism.

Quite often the results were astounding. What would come forth from speakers would sometimes just send my heart flying, whoosh!

How did this work? There were a few principles involved:

First, everyone is needy. Our hearts are thirsting for love and Oneness in every moment. Always. Always. We can drink oceans dry and still not have our fill. As the Sufis say, "The aim isn't to quench your thirst, the aim is to develop the perfect thirst so that you never stop drinking."

This means that everyone in those classroom audiences was thirsting. This applies to you and your audience as well. No matter how big a kahuna anyone is, or how small and insignificant you feel, you can still be a conduit of love for them. And they still need the love.

Second, you are the conduit, not the Source. This means that when facing needy people, you don't have to fill them up. However, you have an opportunity to be the bucket at the well, or the aqueduct, or whatever metaphor you choose.

Left-fielded question: what kind of conduit works best? An empty bucket, or a bucket full of sand? An empty pipe, or a pipe full of wadded up tissue paper? Yup, best to be empty.

Third, the Divine never fails to respond to true need. Call it trust, faith, or craziness, it's just what happens. Even the Rolling Stones had it right on this one, "You don't always get what you want..."

However, sometimes there's a pause while we're hooking up our conduit and letting it flow through. There's no delay on the part of the Divine, but there can be a time-lag as we get in position to help.

It took some getting used to, but I've learned to love allowing "dead air" when I teach. Sometimes I'll take what feels like an uncomfortably long time in silence to get connected, and then it flows through.

The mistake many of our Teacher Internship students made was rushing that connecting process. People sitting in front of you waiting expectantly, and you're actually going to take an ENTIRE SIXTY SECONDS of silence to connect? OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod...

And when you spend the sixty seconds ohmyGod-ing, then it does become an uncomfortably long silence. But it's not the silence, it's the lack of connection.

Time to Connect
Try an experiment with me. First, think of a client or a friend, or someone else you know. Take a few moments to connect with your own heart (I suggest the Remembrance practice of course, but any heart-centering practice is good).

Now ask to connect with the heart of this other person. Don't imagine. Don't vision. Don't make up pictures or stories. Just ask, with a willingness to be surprised. And take some time to notice what you notice, in your heart, in your mind, in your body.

There's a connection. It's there. It's real. Trust it.

There, bow your head. Touch into your humility. Let go of collapse and self-judgment, that's not humility. Humility is when you realize how small you are, and that it's okay.

Let go of everything you think you know. Connect with your heart. And ask to connect with the heart of someone your business is meant to serve. No name. No face. No personal knowledge. Just a heart connection. Ask for it. Be willing to be surprised.

Take some time with this. It may take a few minutes for you to connect, and for you to trust the connection.

Now ask to be made aware of their neediness, especially any neediness your heart can speak to. Be willing to be surprised.

Trust what comes in. Trust how your heart feels. Trust.

And then write (speak). Write (speak) from that space of love and connection. Of compassion and humility. Of answering true need.

Okay, Let the Brain Back In
Once you have that connection, access the knowledge you have within your business. Answer some basic question people you help need answered. Continue to connect in with that neediness. Because you are writing (speaking) to that one heart you were shown, you are giving to that one heart.

Click Business Heart to read the full article.
"Business Heart article ©2009 Mark Silver, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Twenty-eight free articles and other free resources and tools available online".
You can subscribe to Mark's articles at

The heading of Mark's site says, "Heart of Business, when you want to make a difference but need to make a profit." I like that. He says, "I've helped hundreds of people in small business fully integrate their heart, integrity and spirituality into effective business practices." I'm definitely going to look at the resources on his site and consider him part of the 95% I didn't know last night.

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized; they die when neglected. Life is a long line of opportunities." - John Wicker

In Toastmasters International meetings, we rise to the challenge of Table Topics, a 1-2 minute unprepared speech on a subject chosen by the Table Topics Master. Some are easier than others. Some are downright sadistic! But we rise to the challenge, we learn and we grow. Some join Toastmasters to help them build confidence in work or social situations. Some of us want to speak in public. Some already are speakers and some speakers on the international circuit honed their skills with Toastmasters.

Mark's article refers not to filling 1-2 minutes with an unprepared speech but a whole 30 minutes and giving something to the audience by connecting with their need. That really is a challenge.

Antonia Harrison writes Personal Development in the 21st Century , a blog with articles, reviews, ideas, suggestions and downloadable free resources.


Barbara Hofmeister said...

Great article Antonia. We must trust that what we want to say flows out. Table Topics at Toastmasters is excellent for that. As you give more advanced speeches there are also some impromptu 10 Min. ones for you to practise.

Daan said...

Interesting thoughts. I wouldn't mind some longer impromptu speeches. Maybe an idea for our club?

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