Truth Is More Powerful Than Rehearsal
I was with a client this week and he wanted to talk about an upcoming public talk he was preparing for. I could sense there was some block about this and as we dug in, he revealed that he wanted to be prepared and to script everything.
“What can someone possibly ask that you can’t answer?” I asked him. He gave me his answer, “Oh if I got THIS question, I know I would struggle to answer it.” So of course, that was where we went — I asked him that very question he was most afraid of.
As he started to answer, it didn’t sound quite real — it was almost like he was replaying something he had said this before. I stopped him. “This sounds rehearsed,” I said. “Yes,” he replied, “I actually created a video on it, but then I deleted it.”
“Why not just tell me, in this moment, what is true for you,” I asked him. And what he told me was beautiful. It was far more powerful than his ‘rehearsed’ answer; it felt as if he was speaking just to me, like he was opening up his deepest beliefs to me. I could feel his passion and energy.
He admitted that he didn’t have an answer, that he was on a journey. He told me what he believed, what he was testing, what he felt to be true in his heart, but what he could not yet prove. He linked it back to the topic of his talk and he was able to create a question the audience could answer in that moment. Something that would be powerful for them.
Speak What Is True
Sometimes we want to be scripted. We want to sound polished, we want to have an answer for everything. But the reality is that if you are prepared to be honest, to say what is really true for you, then it will be much more powerful for the person listening.
I know that us running through that process, him being able to be honest, shifted his confidence about how he will show up for his public talk. And, even if he’s asked that same question, the answer he gives may not necessarily be the same one he gave me this week.
The wider lesson, I think, is that we don’t need to be prepared for everything that might show up. We don’t need to rehearse for everything we think is coming. We don’t need to worry about impressing people. We just need, in the moment, to speak what is true.