I’ve spent most of the last 30 years on stage, speaking to audiences about so many topics that I can’t recall them all. What I know is that everything I talked about likely focused on the wonderful world of retail, and that almost every audience was somewhere between 30 and 300 people.
There’s a bit of comfort in speaking to large groups. You get to keep your ‘guard’ up, or as is otherwise known, your self-made walls firmly planted between you and your audience.
The bigger the group, the easier it is to keep the walls up.
However, over the past few months, and several times, I’ve arrived to speak at client’s events and found myself face to face with as few as 6 participants.
To say that’s a different thing for a speaker is a big understatement. Speaking to 6 is nothing like speaking to 600.
And, that’s where the ‘miracle’ happened.
I dropped all the usual presentation stuff. You know, the big stories, the big arm swings, the larger than life energy.
Sitting on the edge of a desk to speak, I dropped all guards. Down went the ‘walls’, and both transparency and vulnerability showed up. I didn’t need to know every answer or have the solution to everything. I opened up to my own mistakes along the way, my uncertainties and even some fears.
The result? Well, maybe the two best workshops I’ve done in a very long time. The audiences were able to ‘connect’ with me, as I was with them. I wasn’t the only one to drop my walls. Every member of the group did the same as well. The environment became safe for everyone. Ideas flowed. Solutions (and not just mine) were discovered.
For someone who has found success for three decades doing things my way, it was a bit of a ‘miracle’ to see the amazing impact a bit of vulnerability can create.
Whether you’re the President of your company, a territory manager, store manager or sales associate, the lesson here is to give up the ‘game’ so many play. You know, the one where you have no fears, no uncertainty, and of course, have all the answers. You’re depriving yourself, and those you lead, with the connections we all need.
As Leaders, you need your teams to see you as a real person. Not some ‘plastic’ figure.
Transparency, authenticity and vulnerability. Try them on for size.
Your own miracle may just happen.