The most amazing speakers have the ability to connect with everyone in their audience from in the first moments of their presentation. How do they do it?! I got to have a great conversation with Sekou Andrews, and he gave me some amazing tips to pass along.
An Opportunity for Connection
Many of our readers here at Between Wall and Main already know and love Sekou Andrews from his amazing keynote presentations at QuickBooks Connect. I recently got to interview Sekou for the Ask A Bookkeeper show, and it was a BLAST. After all, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to make the world a better place by discussing our most passionate topics with a puppet?
Sekou’s Poetic Voice has blown me away at QuickBooks Connect. The depth of his stories and the height of his passion for helping others was tangible in that room of 5000 entrepreneurs. In one-on-one conversation that depth and passion are just as tangible. Sekou’s authenticity and genuine interest in empowering others shines regardless of the venue.
All Connections, Large and Small
When I asked Sekou how it is that he can engage any audience so quickly, his explanation was surprisingly simple:
Talk with everyone in the group as if you are having a one-on-one conversation.
Rather than trying to connect with the group as a whole, connect with each person. Connect deeply, connect personally through storytelling, and raise people up through the power of our shared story. We connect with other humans by BEING human.
Introverts and Extroverts in Public Speaking
Following that great conversation with Sekou, my husband Jeffrey and I were talking about some of these concepts in connection with my article: Ambivert – Find the Perfect Balance Between Extrovert and Introvert. We realized that Sekou’s method of connecting with the individuals in a group really helps to level the public speaking playing field for introverts and extroverts.
A great many people have a fear of public speaking, yet many of the same people WANT to be able to speak more comfortably in front of a group. While public speaking is a skill that takes practice, that practice needs to start somewhere. If each of us could practice our public speaking with individual conversations, perhaps it wouldn’t be as intimidating to learn the skill. Then we can slowly grow that audience until we are ready to speak in front of a group. That can also help us to keep the message personal, conversational, and focused on the stories. Each of us can use our natural personality styles as strengths, rather than having them impede our connections.
When analyzing the Sabateours in play with our fears of public speaking, the biggest and most common is probably the fear of judgement from others. If we train our minds to release the fear of judgement, focusing instead on establishing connection between people, we become a catalyst for our message.
An Arsenal of Stories
I love the old adage: Facts Tell; Stories Sell. Sekou says that to be a great speaker, we need to build our arsenal of stories. Stories are how we connect at a deeper level with other people. We can throw facts and data at people all day, and it won’t change anything unless there is a personal, emotional connection. As business people, the best way that we can connect with our clients is through story. We tell stories that interest them, and we become a character in their stories.
My character in each of my clients’ tales is the Priestess of Profits. I get to serve and educate, empowering my clients to lead thriving businesses.
As an accounting professional, each of my client’s stories then becomes part of my arsenal of stories. I can share those stories with others, of course while maintaining client confidentiality. Those stories connect with the deeper purpose of those who hear them, planting seeds of dreams that grow into the fruit of success. It is through our shared humanity that we work through our failures together to continue striving for success. When we see our journey through life as a story, we realize that without conflict to rise above there is no plot. Together we can see the opportunities in every challenge, rather than just the challenges in the opportunities.
Connect With Us
This is just a taste. What was intended to be a 10-15 minute interview with Sekou Andrews turned into over an hour of amazing conversation, and we captured it all for you. It is currently in post-production. We look forward to releasing it for you on the Ask A Bookkeeper show very soon. Be sure to visit www.AskABookkeeper.com to check it out! Also be sure to check out www.SekouAndrews.com. Sign up for his amazing email list, and look into his classes. Together we can continue to build our communication skills. We will build deeper connections for a brighter shared future.