words have power

Words Have Power: Say Something Worth Repeating

Amanda Gorman, the 22 year old, Harvard educated, first ever National Youth Poet Laureate, and youngest inaugural poet is getting a lot of praise and publicity after Wednesday’s inauguration. If you didn’t hear her spoken word poetry at Wednesday’s inauguration, you can tune in here or watch below.

She displayed all the P’s: Presence, poise, persuasiveness. From her bright yellow coat, to the way to she moved her hands, to the grounded tone of her voice, and her perfectly chosen words, Amanda captured attention.

Now, folks across the internet are sharing her words, photos and future aspirations (I read somewhere she plans to run for office in 2036). Maybe you read them or spread them. Maybe you heard some of your ideas in her message. Or maybe you disagreed with them. (Yes, I saw those comments, too.)

Doesn’t matter. Regardless of which tent you slept in, it’s clear that her words moved people.

Stale and Stifled

But here’s what I want to drive home about Amanda. She didn’t deliver a typical speech, you know the one with a clear beginning, middle and end. Instead, she advocated for her message with strong words and bold delivery. She stepped out of the conventional bubble and captivated a nation.

And in this noisy, everyone is talking and sounds the same kind of world we currently live in, we all must commit to stepping out of that bubble so that our very important message is heard, too.

After all, there are many ways to deliver a message – traditional speech or presentation, email newsletter, text message, podcast, spoken word poetry. The problem? All too often, especially in business, our creativity and personality get stifled:

“Oh no, that’s not how we do things around here.”

“Spoken word poetry at a client Zoom meeting? I don’t think so.”

“Amanda Gorman just said what I wanted to say, so why should I bother now?” (please, please, please don’t fall into this trap!)

What Makes You Stand Out?

Just like Amanda, our words must move people. How can you make people laugh, cry, think or act differently?

You don’t need a Harvard education, inaugural invitation or to become a National Youth Poet Laureate to have that impact. The size of your stage doesn’t matter, the power of your presence does.

So, if you feel stale or stifled AND at the same time inspired consider these questions:

  • Do I believe in and own what I’m saying? If you don’t, how will others?
  • What is the BEST way for me to say it? Think about the audience, message and your personality. Let them shine!
  • Who do I need to become to get the results I want? What got you here won’t get you there. Step up.
  • Am I willing and able to do the work? Advocating for yourself and your ideas takes consistent effort.
  • Do I have the right support? Without the right support, you might talk yourself out of it. (So, stop waiting and attend an Engage The Room event to get that support!)

Putting YOUR OWN Ideas into the World Takes Courage

It means you have to feel something so deeply you can’t help but get it out of your head. And that’s scary. Because, and I’m sure you know this, the world (i.e., social media, business meetings, etc) doesn’t always feel safe. People don’t just disagree, they can be downright mean and disrespectful. And that negativity can hold us back.

But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Because we’re on the same path. Doing the hard work to say something worth repeating.

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About the blog

Insights & inspiration to make human interactions like speaking, networking, facilitating less awkward & boring and more natural & engaging.

Topics include presence, getting your message across, relationship buildingstaying poised under pressure, running a meeting, dealing with burnout and more.

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