Brené Brown is a professor of sociology, a best selling author and her videos have been watched by over 7 million people on Ted and Youtube. She must be doing something right when she speaks.
She is a vitally alive and courageous speaker about the taboo subject of shame. She takes shame and vulnerability for a walk with the audience who go along with her willingly.
A couple of days ago I came across one of her podcasts on her blog where she got asked “What makes her talks compelling?”
“When I speak I really just try to connect to the people in front of me and just try to be human and try to forget that is there is film rolling.
I feel like the best way to honour people who have shown up to be in the audience or watch something is to be vulnerable and to be authentic and tell them what I believe is the truth of my experience.
I haven’t always had these experiences earlier in my career. When I use to give talks on shame they were called “variables predicting self-conscious affects”. I used a lot of 25 cent words (academic words) and I used a lot of research and data and I never told a story about myself because I stayed really armoured up behind my research and behind my data.
So I think (speaking is about) maybe just showing up and being seen. I’m so desperate to seethat in other people. And when I see someone talk when they are real, and they are vulnerable and they are honest and I see myself reflected back in that struggle, in that laughter and in that success - that’s what I love.”
She’s being herself, serving the audience and she has the courage to be vulnerable. The vulnerability here is about taking the risk to say “this truth is important to me”. Rather than hiding behind big words she is being clear about what matters to her. What she doesn’t say but is clear to me – she is having a conversation with her audience. When they laugh in a particular way she responds in the moment. She honours the audience by being fully present.
In my eyes she is fully taking her place in the world and making a difference to people’s lives.