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[Public] Speaking is Easier With the Right Support

Last week my husband and I grabbed a sandwich and drove out to the tip of Hull, MA to sit by the water, take in the city views and unbeknownst to us, check out the cargo ships up close and personal.

At one point we witnessed this giant tanker getting guided through the narrow channel by a couple of tugboats.

tugboat & cargo shipI watched in awe as these much smaller boats guided this gigantic ship quickly and effortlessly through the channel.

Incredible that a larger tanker like that could possibly get and need help from a “small” tugboat (or 2).

Isn’t that sometimes what we need to get ahead in our career or business? A tugboat to nudge us along or stand beside us as we move through new or challenging waters?

Sometimes we’re the ship

Successful, strong, moving along without a hitch, when all of a sudden we come to a narrow channel that our current skills and systems won’t let us safely, effectively or confidently navigate.

That might look like:

  • Giving a presentation to clients, donors, the board or other new to you audience
  • Speaking at a conference or on a podcast and sharing YOUR ideas
  • Networking in a [Zoom] room full of strangers

Sometimes we’re the tugboat

Last week I spoke at a small local fundraising event about how to promote yourself by creating a memorable message.

When I finished and went back to my table, one of the women, Kathryn, a vendor who would have 1 to 2 minutes to talk about her business in front of everyone, sat with arms crossed covering her chest, shaking her head “NO, and tears in her eyes saying:

“I can’t. Speaking makes me anxious.”

As others at the table tried to persuade her to get up there, she insisted, “I can’t”.

Then she said, “I also don’t want to keep missing out on opportunities.”

Have you ever felt nervous or anxious before a high-visibility opportunity?

I have and know what it’s like to freak out before speaking AND watch opportunities pass by.

So, I looked her in the eyes and asked, “What if we go up together and I interview you? That way you’re not speaking in the formal sense, it’s more conversational. And you’re not missing out on the opportunity.”

After a slight pause she agreed.

When the time came, we walked to the front of the room together. Before I could ask her a question, she started talking and telling her story.

Not only was she grateful, she crossed a channel she never thought she’d cross. Because she had a tugboat.

It’s time to Shed The Formality

When you’re the tugboat, formality might say:

“That person is SO successful, how could I possibly provide value?” or “I don’t want to bother them.”

Yet offering help when someone wants it (key here is WANT) can be transformational. 

If you’re the ship, formality might say:

“I’ve got this. I don’t need help.” or “I can’t.”

Needing or wanting help doesn’t diminish your strength, achievements and what you’re capable of accomplishing. In fact, that support often makes it more possible that you’ll achieve what you set out to achieve.

When we have a tugboat by our side, we can drop what’s holding us back and take a path that often seems unattainable.

Sometimes we’re the ship.

Sometimes we’re the tugboat.

Which one are you today?

In need of a tugboat?

Book a call to see how I can support your next presentation or event or attend one of the Virtual Café’s to make business connections and have meaningful conversations in a relaxed, welcoming setting.

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About the blog

Humor, stories, and insights, delivered 2x per month, to perform without the pressure.

Topics include mental health, work, human connection, creativity and more.


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