The Speech Wiz asks, "Do you have humility agility?"

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"Great leaders don't need to act tough.
Their confidence and humility serve to underscore their toughness.” 
Simon Sinek

One of the most essential habits for a speaker to exhibit is the act of humility. With humility, a speaker’s content reaches levels of effectiveness audiences will appreciate and admire. Without humility, a speaker’s content may sound empty and self-serving leaving an audience to feel exploited but not served.

Every speaker is a servant speaker. To not comprehend this simple characterization is to miss the essence of why you speak and why you have an audience. The passion to speak is driven by the axiom, “I speak because I have something to say that needs to be heard by someone other than me.” The validation for speaking is, “I speak because what I have to say will be said to the benefit of those who hear me speak.”

With these two guidelines in place, you must learn how to speak with humility in order for your message to reach and serve your audience. Building your content around three elements can help you become a speaker with effective and sincere humility agility.

The three elements are:

  1. Falling Down

  2. Lifting Up

  3. Learning From

Let’s look further into how these three elements can create humility agility when you speak.

FALLING DOWN

When you take the stage, your audience expects you to share intimate details of your life journey with them. They want to learn vicariously from your travails without having to experience it first hand for themselves. As a result, they want to know about the times you fell down. It is not only okay to tell them about your failures, stumbles and short falls, it is expected.

Don’t worry. Everybody falls down. We are humans, not robots or gods. We dream, vividly imagine, plan and still come up short. That is not an issue. Part of having humility agility is the level of comfort and familiarity you have with telling your “falling down” story. It is a moment on the stage of self-reflective insight. Feel free to tinge it with humor of a self-deprecating nature. Poking a little fun at yourself makes you more human. And that will help you establish a connection with your audience. 

More lessons are learned from falling down and rising to triumph than any other experience. We all have them. They only need to be of value. Whatever lesson you learn from missing your mark is of great value to your audience. It inspires them to perceive what is possible if they apply themselves to a purpose. 

Your story does not need to be an earth-shifting monumental tale. While your story may not have changed the planet, it most likely changed your world. That’s impact from the stage. You just have to learn how to humbly own the story, extract the learning significance from the story and then place it appropriately within your larger message.

LIFTING UP

English author John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself…” In other words, no one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others. There is a good chance that, in your life journey, you have as well.

We all get help. Some of this help may come from friends, family, colleagues, teachers or coaches. In this element of being a speaker with humility agility you should look to extol the virtues of someone who helped you in your journey. Sharing the credit with a person who either inspired or guided you on your path to accomplishment sets into motion for your audience an examination of their journey. Who has been of assistance, inspiration or guidance in their life?

When we humbly acknowledge the contribution of another person to our personal achievements, three things happen. First, you give credit where credit is due. Second, you inspire others to give selflessly of themselves, for nothing more than the shear reward of seeing someone else triumph. Third, you establish a special place of respect and admiration in the minds of your audience for those that have been of support, inspiration and guidance to them.

This is a moment in your speech when you should speak humbly and sincerely. You can’t fake it here. Only honest, genuine sentiment, culled deeply from your heart, will pass muster. When you lift someone up through humble praise you raise us all.

LEARNING FROM

We already know what every person in the audience is thinking before you speak, “What’s in it for me?” Sharing a learning from moment is your opportunity to answer that question.

The goal is to humbly share the “A-ha” moments of your journey without bragging. This is when you let your audience know the payoff you’ve received from the road you’ve traveled. For many speakers, it is an unexpected humbling experience. Many times, the lesson or lessons speakers ultimately learn from their journey extend far beyond mastering a skill or conquering a challenge. You may come to learn that the most humbling lessons are often the ones you learn about yourself. Lessons spoken of with humility about your ability to whether the crucibles of commitment, resolute intention, and perseverance can have a profound impact on your audience extending your message significantly beyond a foundational phrase or your speech’s theme. Humbly sharing the learning from of your experience is a powerful skill that will well serve your humility agility when you speak.

THE POWER OF HUMILITY

Humility is the quality of being humble. It means you have the ability to put the needs of another person before your own. It also means not drawing attention to yourself unless by doing so you can inspire others, acknowledge those who were of support and guidance to you, and create value for others by humbling sharing lessons you have learned along the way.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Practice radical humility. Take no credit for your talents, intellectual abilities, aptitudes, or proficiencies. Be in a state of awe and bewilderment.”

A humble speaker is a modest speaker offering honest wisdom and perspectives they have been blessed to experience and then share from the stage. Master the skill of humility agility and your speeches will have lasting impact beyond your deepest desire.

Thanks for your support as a reader of my blog and I eagerly welcome any comments on how you’re thinking about achieving the possibility of your promise. Also, I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for future posts in this blog on a topic near and dear to you in the comments section below. As always, please feel free to share this post with a friend or colleague.

To Your Speaking Success.
The Speech Wiz