So, do you have to, do you have to, do you have to let it linger...or do you have to let it go? A lot of people are reflecting on the awfulness that was 2020, and many are resolving to let it go; move on to a new, clean slate. I get the optimism, but I'm not convinced this is the right perspective.
Consider late comedy great Bernie Mac who said "My comedy comes from pain. I can't stand to see someone hurting." Mac, who grew up in a gang-ridden neighborhood of the South Side of Chicago, became determined to bring laughter into the world because his family witnessed so many hardships. His IMDB resume speaks for itself.
Research institutions like Brookings are constantly looking at human and natural disasters for ways to improve positive human outcomes.
In 2017, after the devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Brookings was able to devise a list of practical advice for future disaster and recovery programs, including the FCC using smart phone alerts to better inform and mobilize the public, getting a jump start of housing solutions for displaced citizens, the physical, mental, and academic health affects damaging storms have on children, and many more insightful and critical findings.
As it relates to 2020 and COVID-19 specifically, the UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME has gathered data to highlight the human development toll of this disease and the necessary recovery plans we must put into place. They summarize:
The pandemic was superimposed on unresolved tensions between people and technology, between people and the planet, between the haves and the have-nots. These tensions were already shaping a new generation of inequalities—pertaining to enhanced capabilities, the new necessities of the 21st century...But the response to the crisis can shape how those tensions are addressed and whether inequalities in human development are reduced.
I believe your professional speaking career can take a page or two from the crisis recovery playbook. At best, you'll continue to be mediocre if you don't attempt to go outside your comfort zone, push yourself, and try something new: a new introduction, adding new content, a new entrance song. Guaranteed your audience will tune out, or stop showing up, if you keep reading your PowerPoint verbatim.
It's hard to hear criticism, and own up to the fact that you may have a problem with your speaking tactics and career. But, how can you really get better if you aren't tested?
Stay tuned for more posts. Please sign up for this blog, which gives you news and information for all things speaking, performing, and storytelling at https://www.myspeakingcoach.com/contact.