Do you set New Year resolutions? I don’t, but I do have some new ideas to mull on after a holiday. The notion I’m playing with at the moment is how we can (to borrow the phrase coined by Marie Kondo) “spark joy” in ourselves and our audience when we speak.
So, what do I mean by “sparking joy” as a speaker? I definitely don’t mean becoming a gospel preacher, or children’s TV presenter in your delivery. I’m after the very subtle energy a speaker has when they are truly engaged and enthusiastic. Have a look at Richard Feynman, the Nobel winning physicist, talking in this clip. Their eyes shine, their breathing drops down low into the body, and their voice tone softens, and their voice power opens up, you hear a rounder richer sound. They light up with energy.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was more of this kind of infectious energy and enthusiasm in your delivery? What would it do for you in 2018 in terms of the attention and impact you could have? You will stand out, and your audience sit up, in a sea of power-point, spread-sheets, and “phoned-in” communication.
Thoughts on sparking joy more in 2018:
Move: The body is a great way into powerful, energized communication. Katherine Hepburn used to say that it was all about getting “the motor running”. Hepburn used to tune into whether she felt “boxed” or “loose” and do what she needed to do to. Take time to notice how your physical motor is running, look after it, give it what it needs and the resulting energy will help you have real impact on others. Don’t let it tail off in February – keep it going through the year, commit to it regularly and watch the effect it has
Be curious: notice what fires up your curiosity and interest. Follow this seam. Keep digging. Bring it to work as much as you can – aware that the impact is in how you make it relevant, meaningful and interesting to others.
Have Fun: Channel Noel Coward and make work “more fun than fun”. Quite simply my question this year is how can I make things more fun for those around me. It might be in the stories you tell, in how you wear things that make you feel great, it might be in the places you choose to meet people. Make choices that make life fun for you and those around you. When we are in flow, enjoying ourselves, so much more gets done.
And the beauty of sparking joy is that it can be subtle. Play with what brings you fun and joy, a little each day (everything in moderation!) and then see what happens. Emulate mother nature and allow these new shoots of behaviour to take a little time to germinate in the dark months, so they can burst into bloom for you later in the year.