Once I was on the 50-yard line of Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. No, I wasn’t playing quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. I had just finished speaking to a group of 100 who had gathered for a departmental meeting.
Afterwards, as I was talking with a few audience members, a man who had been standing near the field entrance approached me. He extended his hand and said, “I’m one of the bus drivers. We weren’t invited to attend your presentation, but I stood in the back anyway. I like hearing speakers and learning new ideas, and I want you to know that you really encouraged me. You see, I’m an inventor. I’ve invented a new seat cushion that people can use at stadiums like this one. I agreed with practically everything you said, and your words have encouraged me to keep trying.”
Although my client was happy with my presentation that day, my biggest reward came not from the fee I received. It came from the feedback of an appreciative individual who wasn’t even supposed to be there! Without even knowing it, I had achieved a breakthrough.
If your presentations are rooted in your philosophy of speaking, if you are motivated to deliver a message you believe in, and if you devote the time and effort to preparation that your message deserves, chances are very good you will breakthrough with someone.
Public speaking is the oldest form of mass communication. It was part of the formation of democracy in ancient Greece and Rome and the most important part of their school curriculums. Presenting a message to a live audience of listeners offers an immediacy that no other medium can provide. Think of difference between live theater and watching a movie on TV. Even in the age of social media, no other form of communication has as much power to inspire and to change as the breakthrough speech. In fact, speeches delivered in the public square were the original social network!
If you have a message to deliver – one that you sincerely believe in – and your philosophy moves you to want to inspire and change people, the best way to reach them is by mastering Breakthrough Speaking. If your heart and your effort are in your speaking, your message will break through with some, if not all, of your audience almost every time. And when members of your audience approach you after a speech to say something like, “What you said really encouraged me,” you have a real sense of “mission accomplished.”
So remember – you never know who’s watching and listening. In a sense, our lives are speeches given to many various audiences. These “speeches” can impact others we may never know in ways we may never understand. Often, it’s the reward of an unexpected and heartfelt “thank you” that becomes the most valued of all.
And that’s when you know you’ve achieved a breakthrough.