An Audience of One

Last week I gave the best, most effective, motivational speech I have ever given.

It wasn't for a large group. It wasn't on a fancy stage with a spotlight. I wasn't even wearing any make-up. Actually, it was for an audience of one.

A long time friend of mine had gotten himself into drugs. Every time we went out together he was high. It was making me so angry. I thought, "That's it! Why do I need people like this in my life?"

But rather than getting angry and ending our friendship, I got together with him to talk. Rather than telling him what he was doing wrong, and what he needed to do, I painted a picture of the man I used to know. I reminded him of who he was when I met him. The man who was so awake. The man who was so talented. "This isn't you," I said.

We both cried as we held each other.

He called me a month later to let me know that he is living his life sober, not for me, but for himself.

I always tell my consultation clients to get a gig. But the audience you might want to affect most could be the person sitting across from you at the dinner table.

As speakers, we can make a difference, not by telling others what to do with a PowerPoint list of action steps, but by listening, caring, and reminding them of who they are. Love is an action step that each speaker needs to do themselves.

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.