Connect by Showing Vulnerability

12.09.2017 |

Episode #9 of the course Speak like a leader by Mark D’Silva


Welcome to Day 9. In this lesson, we’ll look at the importance of demonstrating vulnerability as a speaker.

Can you show strength through demonstrating vulnerability? You might think it a paradox, and you’d be right. Society judges our success at work and life through how confidently we behave in our environments. The stronger we look, the more successful we are deemed.

But as author Crissi Jami says, “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

We all have aspects of ourselves that we’re afraid to share for fear of not being accepted, so we keep these closely guarded.

Vulnerability requires great levels of strength and courage. It is actually the next level of evolution in our strength as individuals. It requires courage to be who we are despite our fears of not being accepted or liked. It requires courage to talk about our failures or admit we don’t know all the answers.


How to Discover and Practice Vulnerability

Here are a few steps on how to share your vulnerability:

1. Become self-aware. Become more aware of when you feel vulnerable. Make a mental note or even write down what makes you feel vulnerable. Be honest with yourself.

2. Reveal your chinks to others. Practice revealing more about yourself to others. Perhaps start with people you implicitly trust, like your spouse or sibling. As you become more confident, share your vulnerability with others.

3. Admit when you are wrong. When you make a mistake, accept it and call it out, especially if you are in a position of authority (as a parent, manager, or coach/mentor). This takes real courage.

4. Celebrate your imperfections. We are often our own worst critic. Each time we make a mistake, we tend to beat ourselves up. Imagine if instead, you changed your mindset to acknowledge your mistake, forgave yourself, and then celebrated having learned a valuable lesson with an inner “high-five”!


How to Demonstrate Vulnerability as a Speaker

Laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. As speakers, we want to perform the perfect presentation every time. While it is a good ambition to have, let’s face it: None of us are perfect. We will make mistakes. Think about the time you completely lost your train of thought when presenting or your mind went blank. Were you embarrassed?

Next time you make a mistake while presenting, make a short quip about it, laugh at your ineptitude, let the audience laugh with you, and then move on.

Ask for your audience’s help. Often as a speaker, we are expected to be the expert on our topic. But perhaps we don’t know everything about it.

Why not ask the audience to provide ideas, feedback, or a solution? Most humans want to help. They will be more inclined to do so if they see a genuine request. Create that genuine need. Open your heart a little, show them the chink, and ask for help in fixing it. People will be more sympathetic toward you and happy to contribute to resolving your issue. What a great way to connect with your audience!

In tomorrow’s final lesson, we look at how having charisma can help people gravitate to you like a magnet.

Best regards,

Mark D’Silva


Recommended book

The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie


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