Last night I spoke in southern California for Friends of the Beaumont Library. The room was warmed with smiles. The air lifted in sweet moments of laughter. It was a lovely evening. And, as is always the case, much of the event’s success was a credit to the attendees.
Truth told, public speaking is by far the most challenging, heart-on-sleeve part of my work. It’s not easy to stand before a crowd of peers—or children for that matter—hoping to give them something worthwhile, something that justifies their time spent listening.
My mission is to empower an audience. Too lofty? Perhaps. But isn’t the whole point to inform and inspire? Done well, it seems empowerment should naturally follow. So, it’s not just about speaking—it’s about sharing.
Always a bit of my soul is poured out among the anecdotes, leaving an inner hollow that threatens to send me home feeling emptied.
Except public speaking is not a one-way street. Its beauty is spawned from an assemblage. It thrives on an exchange of energy. One person may lead, but it is dance of many and I am dependent on and grateful for every synergistic audience.
Like most talks, last night was a joy. I connected with kind, interesting and intelligent people, who silently yet enthusiastically joined in the experience—completing the circle. In their warmhearted response, they gave me something worthwhile, something that justified my time spent talking. They empowered me.
To be sure, their generous spirit filled that tiny hollow with a new bit of soul.