"I learned a lot in your session," an attendee told me.
"Can you share something specific?" I asked. He did, and his words were music to my ears. What he noted was something I had just added.
He said, "I liked the part about being willing to put my foot in my mouth."
In the past, my presentation emphasized the end result - what excellent communication looks like. This time I spoke a lot more about the path to Speaking Strong. The two are not the same. Sometimes we need to speak up before we feel ready, and our words won't be as polished as we'd like. Sometimes we need to speak before we have a deep understanding of what we think, feel and want. We might have a one-sided view of things, and know it. Sometimes fumbling authentically through a conversation is what it takes to get to clarity.
Sometimes we serve the situation best by risking putting our feet in our mouths. This attendee who thanked me yesterday does that already and appreciated understanding how that is part of the path to communication excellence.
I used many of my same old examples in my presentation yesterday. But they were fresh, new and alive with insight about the steps from conflict and confusion to greater understanding. I also found myself emphasizing the transformative role a compelling guiding vision played in my examples. Knowing why you're sifting through stuckness, issues and differences - knowing why it's worth it - changes everything.
The exciting thing is, more often than not, we rock boats because we care about the person in it, and because we strive to acheive something of value.
Otherwise, why would we risk rocking our own boat by speaking up when we'd rather not?