How to Speak from the Heart

A Memorable Speaker

If you had to think of a memorable speaker from the last few years, Greta Thunberg, the seventeen-year-old climate-change activist, would probably come to mind. She has taken the dialogue about climate change to a new level, with global leaders weighing in on her speeches about the devastation caused by the climate crisis. Greta’s most notable quality is her ability to speak honestly and openly in order to get her point across. Her impassioned, often tearful, public speeches have dominated the climate conversation for over a year now, and have resonated with so many people on account of her ability to communicate truthfully and with emotion. Greta uses emphatic, persuasive language to both influence and move her listeners, and through doing this she seeks to entice worldwide change. Speaking from the heart like this is a skill that you can learn; even though it can feel daunting to communicate this way, we’re here to help you find your inner voice!

Why speaking from the heart is important…

Everybody loves a good story, storytelling is an integral part of our global culture and personal backgrounds. From the childhood crib to the lecture hall, from the pub to our social media platforms, people are constantly re-inventing ways to communicate with each other. We’re searching for people who understand and accept us, in order to connect with those around us. Everyone has a favorite childhood story that they’d beg their parents to repeat over and over again, or maybe it’s that shared experience with your best friend that gets funnier each time you retell it! You remember it clearly now as an adult, which just shows the impact of communicating this way; how sharing a personal story can form a connection with someone that lives on in your memory long afterward. Don’t be afraid to share personal insights when public speaking, it can bridge the gap between you and your audience. They might have had a similar experience, and this can instantly make them feel more empathetic towards you, more open to your ideas and the information you offer. It’s important to form these personal connections in order to capture your audience’s attention, to motivate change, or leave a lasting impression of your speech – and speaking from the heart is the most effective way of doing it! 

Why it can be difficult…

But it’s easier said than done, and most people naturally shy away from the idea of sharing personal stories and opening up to an audience. The business world is generally an environment of black and white statements and statistics, it doesn’t exactly encourage emotive language and a more personal approach to communicating. We can lose sight of our ability to connect on a more personal human level when faced with the cold world of facts and statistics. It can feel like facts and emotions are two very separate things; if you look at our educational system, for example, we are conditioned from a young age to favour a scientific and factual approach to the world. However, these two elements should be seen as less separate entities and more like two sides of the same coin. As much as we need to rely on scientific knowledge, we are in danger of losing what it means to be human if we ignore our emotional side and become too obsessed with being purely factual. This is something that Greta Thunberg can teach us, that it’s possible to be passionate and speak from the heart, whilst bringing current issues about climate change and social environment to the forefront. 

How you can speak from the heart… 

Oscar Wilde famously said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” To be unafraid to be yourself is the ultimate show of confidence. In a world where everyone is so desperate to portray a filtered and photoshopped version of themselves, having the confidence to stand up and speak from the heart has never been more appealing. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable by speaking candidly and from the heart, people are more likely to trust and like you, enabling you to form those connections through communication that is so important. 

Some ways you can practice speaking from the heart…

  • Practice being honest. Even when it’s easier to tell a white lie or dodge a question, be honest. 
  • Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Sometimes a joke will fall flat, or a story won’t have the desired reaction you were hoping for; but just like when you stall a car, the most important part is the recovery!
  • Practice your own style of story-telling. Next time you’re in an appropriate social situation, try and weave in as many stories as you can, and take notes on what works and what doesn’t! 

So, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb, open up a bit when it feels appropriate, share a more personal side to you and start making those connections by speaking from the heart. In a superficial, image-obsessed world, be an authentic voice. Be a Greta Thunberg in a world of Kim Kardashians! 

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