I have a really good friend who gives a talk here in the DC area. The talk always starts with the following question “what do you do that makes you happy?” No one ever volunteers anything so he starts asking questions “how many of you golf on the weekends, boat, go for hikes, relax, read.” After about four or five questions most of the room raises their hands to one of the questions. Then he hits them with how many of you enjoy your jobs. I’ve seen entire rooms raise their hands. I’ve seen entire rooms not raise their hands. I think the reality of the audience is ½ do love their jobs, ½ don’t.
When you consider the what and why of things you love to do it becomes an interesting personal conversation. My friend often spends time after his talks where people come up and tell him activities that make them happy that he didn’t list in his opening remark. What about gardening, or what about swimming? They ask. He nods his head and says all of them are wonderful, but do you love your job?
I have asked him several times why it matters to him to ask that question. He smiles and looks at me every time and says do you love your job? The last time we were together I smiled right back, looked at him and said do you love your job? He smiled and said yes.
Public speaking I asked or just your entire job? Public speaking is one of my favorites he said. I know that many years ago when we first met he was terrified of speaking. Now he is an exceptional public speaker that can entrance an audience regardless of the topic. I’ve seen him talk to a group of business professionals on an IT topic and leave the entire room nodding their heads. Complex technical presentation to people who normally switch off the speaker and turn on their personal electronic devices listening entranced for an hour.
Great speakers love to speak. I once saw a room full of government professionals, on a government holiday when everything was closed down. Come to an office and sit in a room to hear a specific speaker. That speaker was amazing that day (and every other day I saw him speak by the way). But he got people that have tough jobs and few days off, to give up a day off to hear him speak.
A great speaker grabs the audience. Opens the door and shares something amazing with the audience. I’ve seen a number of great speakers over the years (sadly I am not one of them.) People that reached into what they knew and regardless of the audience made that simply amazing. I have friend who is an amazing speaker, he brews beer. I’ve seen him present a talk on brewing beer to a group of software architects and they ate it up.
Great speakers are:
You know a great speaker the minute they start talking. You stop reading the slides and start listening. You realize after whatever time that person has spoken that you connected with the topic and learned something. There is a word that describes a great speaker FIME! OK its not a word but it is the acronym from above.
Do you love your job?