Hellooooo and happy December!
I hope this finds you well in the last month of this surreal year.
Last week was a very special one for me.
It was my last time volunteering as a Senior Speaker Coach for TedXAmsterdamWomen.
And I ended it in a very special way.
My dear friend Ferry Zandvliet was the only male speaker, and it was an honor help him shape and share his story with joy, confidence, and ease.
Ferry’s story is unique. He survived the Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris, and this horrendous and violent tragedy turned his life around in the most beautiful way. You can read all about it here. It took a terrorist attack to make him realise that sharing your emotions and being honest with your feelings is the most powerful tool we have as humans. He was taken in off the streets by a complete stranger who loved him so much it made him realise that there’s no such thing as a stranger. He was so transformed that he reached out and became friends with the father of one of the terrorists. As Ferry said so beautifully ‘We were in the same storm, just on different boats.’ Ferry’s story is a powerful one, and I worked hard with him to develop an effective storytelling angle that was not yet shared in any of his (many) media appearances.
The results were astonishing.
Although it was online, the reactions came in swift and strong.
He moved so many people with his story.
So many people shared stories of their own.
Many said that his words helped them cope with loss.
I was so deeply proud of my wonderful friend.
Here I am, caught in the act. #happycoach #withallmyfriends
This event was special for another reason – it was my last one as a volunteer Speaker Coach. I’ve been doing this for 10 years and it’s been such a gift in my life, helping thought leaders around the world create a message with meaning, value, and lasting impact. So many ripple effects had ripple effects!
But now, as my business is growing, my time is even more limited. I will never stop volunteering my services, as volunteering is part of my DNA, but now I want to focus my free time and energy volunteering only for my own foundation and for refugees. That’s it. Of course if someone wants to hire me as a Speaker Coach, no problem! Happy to share my expertise. But after getting so many messages like ‘I hope I get asked to do a TED talk so I can work with you for free!’ I realised that it was time to make a change. I always want to leave the party when I’m still having fun, and this was the best way to end a decade of service.
I’d like to share some pro tips here with you that I’ve learned over the years. I hope it helps YOU create a message worth sharing.
1. If you evaluate yourself while you are presenting, you have lost focus on your audience. You cannot judge yourself and stay connected to them at the same time. Let the judgement go and focus on them. That’s why you are there.
2. Your story might feel ‘old’ to you, but to your audience, it’s their first (and often only!) time to hear what you have to say. It’s never about you. It’s always about them.
3. Do not steal. If you feel that your story is not worth sharing, you are denying others the chance to learn and be inspired by you. Don’t steal that away from them. Sharing is caring.
4. Keep a glass of water at least 4 steps away from where you are talking. If you feel nervous or have a blackout, sometimes that short walk to take a sip of water is all you need to get back on track. And stay hydrated!
5. If you feel your story has no value, this often means that you feel that YOU have no value. What’s up with that? Take a moment to examine why you feel you don’t deserve to stand in the spotlight.
I have 853 (and a half!) more tips, but I’ll save those for another time.
I hope these help you speak with confidence!
Love, Buffi (who is, and shall always remain, a very #happycoach)
PS: If you are looking for a fabulous, fun, and educational gift, my books and cards all come with a special extra gift if ordered through my website before December 20. Want to give someone (or yourself) the gift of confidence in English, in my famous rock and roll style? Look no further! Every book is personally signed by me until December 21.