The Courage to Captivate

Posted by on Nov 5, 2013 | 2 Comments
Cathy and Liz

Our amazing Dallas SM Cathy and Elizabeth Gilbert

When the flight touched down at 3:45, I was certain I’d have plenty of time.  The event didn’t start until 6pm after all, and even after stopping by Dollar Rental Car, I was out of there in no time.

I hopped in the car and headed out in the pouring rain.  Torrential really.  Awful stuff.

And when I saw the blurry red and blue flashing lights of the police car up ahead through my wet windshield, indicating that the South Airport exit was closed, I knew.  Six o’clock wasn’t looking good.

I arrived right at 7pm, having missed the reception, but still in time to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak.  I love her.  She speaks to my heart with her writing.  She “gets” me.  Or…I “get” her, I suppose, since she’s never actually met me…  But whatever!  I was excited!  In spite of the rain and the traffic, I made it!  I won’t go into the details about having to troll the parking lot for the next 20 minutes, but suffice it to say that by the time I sat down in the auditorium, I was a bit of a stress ball.  Rain + traffic + being late are a combustible combination in my book.

But she changed all that, Elizabeth did.  She connected.  For real.  And all that stress melted away as she held me, my amazing Dallas Stage Manager Cathy (who was my hot date), and the other 500 people there, in the palm of her hand.

It wasn’t that Elizabeth was an incredibly charismatic presenter.  She wasn’t presenting at all.    She was connecting.  She simply talked to us.  She shared personal stories, listened deeply to the questions, responded with such genuine humility and grace and humor.  And with a massive audience before her, she created such an atmosphere of intimacy.  I would suspect that every person in the room felt she was talking to them.  She was just real.  Just herself.  Her real self.  And it was captivating.

And the truth is, we all have that power.  The power to captivate.  I’ve seen hundreds of my participants go there – and they get me every time.  Some of them are charismatic.  Some of them have a quiet power.  Some of them are very funny.  Some of them grab my heart and won’t let go.  Some of them are incredibly articulate and masterful with language.  Some of them take a less-is-more approach.  But they’re all captivating.  When they dare to get real.

You don’t need a three day presentation skills class to be a great speaker.  Sure, there are tips and tools that are useful, but they’re not the things that will make you great.  To be great, you need great courage.  Because it takes courage to get real and connect.  To connect, for real.

But when you do…  Ah!

Elizabeth left us with these words:  “Choose creativity over fear.”  Yes.  (see why I love her?)

And I’ll leave you with these words:  “Choose connection over fear.”

For when you do…  Ah!



©OnStage Leadership, 2013

Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share.  It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.



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