Speechless – Tell Stories that Change the World

Chapter 06: Why 'being inspiring' shouldn't be a goal

July 24, 2023 Maryam Pasha & Simon Bucknall Season 1 Episode 11
Chapter 06: Why 'being inspiring' shouldn't be a goal
Speechless – Tell Stories that Change the World
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Speechless – Tell Stories that Change the World
Chapter 06: Why 'being inspiring' shouldn't be a goal
Jul 24, 2023 Season 1 Episode 11
Maryam Pasha & Simon Bucknall

"Inspiring others" is a tempting goalpost, but it's not a mission that the best speakers ever set out to achieve. Why? You don't tell an inspiring story. People are inspired by a story. It's an audience led thing! Instead, focus on gaining real clarity on the impact you want to create in the world. Find out how to set meaningful goals, with Speechless co-hosts Simon Bucknall and Maryam Pasha. 

Show Notes Transcript

"Inspiring others" is a tempting goalpost, but it's not a mission that the best speakers ever set out to achieve. Why? You don't tell an inspiring story. People are inspired by a story. It's an audience led thing! Instead, focus on gaining real clarity on the impact you want to create in the world. Find out how to set meaningful goals, with Speechless co-hosts Simon Bucknall and Maryam Pasha. 

Simon Bucknall  0:03  
You're listening to speechless the new podcast from storytelling experts, Maryam Pasha and Simon Bucknall hit follow now to learn how to tell stories that change the world.

Maryam Pasha  0:18  
So I'm quite thrilled claiming that we're doing this podcast and I know that this is your first, your first podcast, not that you've done as a guest, but that you are doing it.

Simon Bucknall  0:27  
It is it is the first time our podcast

Maryam Pasha  0:30  
listeners is very exciting for me because I have an assignment for many, many years. One of the questions that I think when we thought about doing this podcast that came to mind is, there are loads of public speaking resources, audiobooks, podcasts books out there. Why should people listen to this podcast?

Simon Bucknall  0:52  
I think from my side, I totally agree that there's so much stuff out there. And the same is true with books, of course, and public speaking. So what makes us different? I think one of the key things that makes will make this podcast distinct is what's true of what makes for coaching that you and I can offer distinct, which is the practical nature, it's about, and I say this with clients that I work with all the time. I'm a practitioner in this stuff. Yes. We've all heard Oh, it's really important to be able to tell stories, your communication is really important. You've got to be able to do this. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. The question is, how do you actually do that? What are the specific concrete things that can really make a difference? And certainly, my hope and ambition for this podcast is that for any lesson, if you're wanting not just to understand why these kinds of things important, but actually how to implement things, how do you actually what are the specific things you can do? That will make a difference to your impact how you feel about speaking your capacity to inspire people, my hope and ambition is that that's something that we can really bring to this podcast.

Maryam Pasha  1:48  
So being a practitioner is absolutely right. I think that is something that is so unique to you, and I look at kind of the work that you do, you know, you speak you, you don't just do the you don't just help other people speak you do that work of putting yourself out there and speaking and, you know, from my perspective, I'm a curator. Yes, I speak from time to time to but more, I have this lens of I know what people are looking for, to create compelling speeches, you know, I did a little tally the other day. And as a coach of talent, TEDx speakers, the talks that I've coached have been viewed over 20 million times, which is awesome. But I think it gives me a perspective. And so actually, I can see now the difference over the 10 years of doing it between what works with an audience and what doesn't. And so I think that practical experience is something we definitely want to come through. I think the other thing, as you're all listening, hopefully, this will really come out is we work with really diverse audiences. So you know, we're not just focused on the corporate world, or the nonprofit world or the youth sector, or people in the UK, it was always off to some other part of the world working with, with clients from like, Dubai, and Latvia and whatnot, I'm working in the US. But also, seniority, also the kinds of things they do. I mean, it's a broad spectrum.

Simon Bucknall  3:07  
I remember when we first met or first work together, and it's back in, I think it was 2009, I think. And at the time, of course, you were you were responsible for a programme and refugee social entrepreneurs, I remember thinking, Wow, that's quite a community of people. And we're going to go into Stockport and running some sessions with you, obviously, as the, as a curator for that group, if you like and working with that group, and over the years to see the work that you've done hands on curating conferences, and of course, through TEDx actually really helping speakers to, to get to the right, how am I going to really get that message across the practical side? And knowing what that takes knowing what, what what an audience's agenda really is, it's so so so key. So that's really exciting. Obviously, we've known each other for for more years than we probably care to remember. I think from my side, I continually will say to clients of mine that I work with, I come at this, from the perspective of practitioner, I know what it's like to be in front of a room of 80 MBAs and having them for three hours to work with them or to keynote at a conference and so on. So living and breathing this stuff. It's, yeah, there's lots of stuff out there that says are right, here's why storytelling is really important. Here's why you need to think seriously about your leadership communication. Yes, yes. Yes, yes. Yes. The question is, how do you actually do it? And that's my inspiration for this podcast.

Maryam Pasha  4:21  
And I agree with you in that. Very uniquely, you are often in front of audiences speaking, having to craft your message, having to tell stories that land and resonate, getting people on board communicating core ideas. So I think that makes such a big difference when you have been, let's say, on the other side, you know, you actually spoke at TEDx London in 2018. You're going through that process with me of crafting that talk of kind of looking at it as both a speaker and a coach and how that kind of works together. I find it very frustrating actually, because I feel like We've done the work, we've convinced people that storytelling is important people get that now. And, you know, so much of the advice out there is Be confident. And this will just be be yourself, be yourself. Don't be defeated, confident self, if ideal, if you don't, if you if you really want to meet that ideal and what what what that means to me when someone says that is they have no idea how to actually do it. Like when people are frustrated by it when they feel like they're trying and they're not getting any better. It's because I don't think that you can base your confidence on air. You know, I don't think that fake it till you make it actually works. Because, you know, you if you fake it till you make it, that might convince other people that you are really good at what you're doing. But you are still and excuse my language and I feel like shit, you're still going to feel like an imposter. You're still not going to feel like you know what you do? And what 10 years later, do you still not want to feel like you know what you're doing. But if you actually can base your storytelling, speaking your communication on a solid foundation, then you will believe that you have something valuable to say. And I think that is where real, you know, solid, unwavering confidence comes from.

Simon Bucknall  6:17  
Yeah, absolutely. Great. I think there's also something to say about the the importance of diversity as well, there's relevance, there's podcasts, I think, because the sort of diverse range of people that you've worked with the kind of diversity of audiences that you've needed to think about when helping clients to prepare talks. And likewise, in my own experience, working with people, whether it's literally being inside a maximum security, prison, visiting, working with inmates, or working with senior partners in private equity, or wedding speakers, the occasional politician, some would say that the politicians and the maximum security prison inmates should be switching places, but still young people in schools. Yeah. Engineers, police officers, technologists, all sorts of people from all walks of life, different levels of seniority, I would have gone bonkers years ago, had, I only worked with the same kind of person, I think that's something is exciting. And I hope we can really, really bring to this podcast for the benefit of you as a listener, a diversity a real range of experience and knowing what's involved, not just for a broad range of, of speakers, whatever your needs as a speaker might be, because of course, it's everyone is different. Everyone's got their own. And yes, there are universal principles and things that can make a difference. But everyone's own experiences, the spoken word is a little different, it's unique. So So hopefully, there'll be there'll be ideas in this podcast that will be relevant for you, wherever you are in your own working world, and your own life, but also a sensitivity to the range of different people that you yourself as a speaker want to actually reach. And I think that sensitivity, the diversity is also really, really, really important.

Maryam Pasha  7:48  
And I think we mean that across like so many different factors and verticals, right, like, we don't just mean diverse in terms of seniority, or diverse in terms of demographics, or in terms of experience. And speaking, you and I have worked with kind of the this broadest range of people. And, you know, I think they're very much the thing that comes to the thing that surprised me, actually, when I went from working only with talent, TEDx speakers, to working with other kinds of clients, was that the tools I was working with those speakers, who were maybe you know, academics, you know, larger universities or students or, you know, any kind of practitioner, you can imagine, who's speaking at TED or TEDx event, those things, the coaching, the tools, the the kind of skills that I was working on with those speakers, were just as effective with people who were at some of the most senior levels in business and philanthropy. In, you know, in, in civil society. And I think for both of us, what I hope people get from listening to this podcast is really these essential tools that work, if you apply them correctly, across any regardless of what your background is, regardless of what your skill set is, we're also what your expertise is in. And also, regardless of who you're speaking to, but not saying you know, think about your audience, but actually being able to tailor what you're saying to so many different kinds of audiences that you feel that sense of, you know, clarity, and I use that word a lot, which I love, like, clarity. And what's the other word that you use? I'm like, really, really like that when people who are on a mission? Yeah, so to speak. Yeah,

Simon Bucknall  9:35  
that's right. Absolutely. If I think all the range of different people I've worked with over the years, I think whether they are literally preparing a speech for their own wedding or they're preparing to give a big pitch on it speaking at an AGM, the ones that the ones that will achieve the most impact and certainly the ones that will get the most out of engaging with somebody like me or indeed with yourself, or those that are on some kind of mission, and obviously that mission is a very personal Saying it might be simply to do an absolute knockout speech, where that will delight the wedding guests and where the bride feels amazing or the bride's parents.

Maryam Pasha  10:09  
I love so much that you work on wedding speeches. It's so nice. It's not something I've ever thought of. And it's just so joyful.

Simon Bucknall  10:18  
That yeah, it's a, it's always special because for anybody whether it's a bride groom, best man or maid of honour, Father, the bride or other sick someone like me out having gone to the trouble of researching online and thankfully mercifully steered clear of jokes off the internet, that pretty serious to seek someone like me out, you know, having just read an article or just bought a book, and, and time and again, what comes across is a real desire on the part of that speaker to I really want this to be to be a good speech that will people will remember that will be that will that will be meaningful to people that I care about now that that sort of wedding speaker language, although actually quite a lot of that's transferable to other speeches as well. So yeah, I think that's right. It's some kind of mission. And sometimes it's, I just want to, I really want to take my business to the next level and raise its profile, I just want to, I really want to inspire the team, you know, obviously, these missions take all sorts of forms, but there has to be a compelling reason. And certainly for anybody that's listening to this podcast that wants to change the world in some way. Whatever, however you define what the world means whether it is your immediate community, maybe it's a maybe it's within your sector, or maybe it's the your team, whatever, whatever the world means to you. I think having some real clarity on desire is is key, because Because without that, if you're not with, as they say, right, the first sale is to yourself. It's not clear to you then that and that desire is not meaningful to you, then how is it going to be meaningful to the people you

Maryam Pasha  11:42  
want to reach? The interesting thing, though, that for me that you've said here, and this happens a lot with the TEDx speakers we work with, or just in that world, because people will come up to me and they'll say, I really want to inspire people, I really want to be an inspiring Speaker. I want to do all my talk to do inspirational stuff. And, you know, I have to sit down with those people and just say, that's not how it works. Like, you don't tell an inspiring story. People are inspired by us to

Simon Bucknall  12:10  
slowly come to them. Yeah. Yes, it's an audience centred thing, rather than the speaker thing. Yeah, have

Maryam Pasha  12:15  
another purpose. Your purpose is not inspiration. It might be whatever it might be, is your purpose, right? Your core message, I think you want to communicate the reason you're speaking, and different people will find it and different things, inspire them or give them energy. And I do think that is a huge mistake. It's like, you know, people find TED talks, very inspiring. But it's not because their speakers are trying to inspire their audience, is because the speakers are trying to communicate something that they care about. Yes. And that happens to inspire them. Yes. And I think that it can be if you're in an audience, and you see someone speak and you feel really inspired by them, it can be easy to feel like, oh, I want to be like that. I want to inspire people like that, especially if you're trying to change the world, right? Yes. And the real thing that has to click is that you don't set out with that in mind.

Simon Bucknall  13:05  
Absolutely. Yes. We absolutely. I'd be a bit like in the theatre, but I want to go on stage and and make people clap.

Maryam Pasha  13:13  
Yeah. Standing ovation. Yeah, exactly. Offer an

Simon Bucknall  13:17  
offer a sports professional say I, I want the crowd to go wild. Well, if you're focused on that, rather than on the actual gaming hand, you're toast, that's absolute absolute focus

Maryam Pasha  13:28  
on off, it can actually have the opposite effect. Actually, I think that's, that's the thing about this, this as well is that if you do go in hoping I'm gonna inspire people, you give off the totally the wrong vibe. Absolutely. We've all sat there and listened to and heard and had that experience. I love the way that you talk about mission. You know, when I talk about it, I talk about people wanting to speak so that others listen, you know, that I think is all of our desire is for to be heard, to be listened to. And I think that's doubly true. When you want to change the world in some way. When you want to have an impact or leave things better than when how you found them. I think there's a real desire to be heard and and I I hope that this podcast gives people really practical tools they can use in lots of different circumstances to do just that. Absolutely. You've been listening to speechless. The podcast from storytelling experts, Maryam Pasha and Simon Bucknall. Hit fallen out to keep learning how to tell stories that change the world. If you enjoyed it, please leave us a rating and review. Until next time, speak less, say more.