When I used to do what I used to do

Photo Credit  HA Photography

Photo Credit HA Photography

By Bruce Williams

I realized and recognized a long time ago that there are things I do very well, and things I don’t do well at all. We don’t have enough space here to talk about what I don’t do well, so I’m going to outline the reason I have focused on the good stuff.

At a very early age I realized I could speak in public and make sense. I could understand information, organize thoughts, then speak about it. Sometimes I could make people laugh, sometimes help them better understand something, sometimes get them to spend money, sometimes I help them change their mind about something.

As I did it more and more I would work on using use precise and effective words, speaking in tones that suited the situation, be it measured, motivating, gentle or emphatic. I learned to use context as a means of framing why what I was talking about mattered to my audience.

I was in electronic media for a long time of course, where pure spoken word or what you’re saying in front of a camera needed to be concise and straightforward. You never wanted to hear someone say “what is he talking about?”. As an ambassador in public and private situations for my employer in both business and community situations, I used those same abilities to develop relationships with current and potential advertisers. It also worked when I was acting as a public face of the organization at so many community fundraising events. Both are also opportunities to connect with others because of a shared interest. It was apparent to me at the start of my career that they both required the same rare ability I had been blessed to have. All of it required being an effective public speaker. Speaking in front a crowd or striking up dialogue with people you don’t know is one of our greatest human fears. It doesn’t intimidate me in the least bit. I give myself credit for being smart enough at an early age to consider basing a career on that.

Of course, in all those situations it’s equally important to listen.

Now that I am no longer a broadcaster those same skills are the foundation of what I do in the volunteer community and in business. Contacts I have made in the past and communication established along the way are the foundation of new projects. The ability to create new relationships with people previously unknown and to articulate what we have in common creates success. The right words said the right way will create an outcome that is in everyone’s best interest. How can that not be good for building relationships?

When I used to do what I used to do I spoke and others listened. I also listened when they spoke. If you don’t think speaking is your strength, you may very well find that the more you listen the more you will have to say.