I’ve meant to write about an article I read on CNN about Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech. Now that I spoke back to back, I feel like I’m ready to reflect on how to go from dreaming to impacting.
As it turns out, the “I have a dream” portion wasn’t planned. Dr. King was about to wrap up his speech when he heard the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was sitting nearby. “Tell them about the dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream,” she shouted.
The rest is history.
Martin Luther King Jr had a good habit of listening, and that’s why he fed off his audience. The Control Driven me would have probably gotten upset for this type of a distraction and would have possibly lost my flow if I were in a similar situation. The Love Driven Man, however, understands that the most significant impact comes from interacting with the audience.
To make change happen, we have to meet the people where they are. Otherwise, we’ll talk past them. Speaking, therefore, is not so much an act to telling as encountering. When we want to go from dreaming to impacting, we have to ask questions. We have to listen and be willing to change the message so that we touch hearts.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am not there. I’m getting better, though. What I found helpful is maintaining as much eye contact as possible and seeking dialogue with the members of my audience as I talk.
What helps you to listen before speaking? How can you do that more often?
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