While I was researching and writing my latest book ‘A Journey of Creative Healing,’ I read the New York Times best selling book ‘Radical Remission – Surviving Cancer against all Odds.’ The author is Dr Kelly A Turner, a researcher and psychotherapist who specializes in integrative oncology. While Kelly was studying for her Phd she was shocked that no one was investigating cases of unexpected survivor’s of advanced cancer, so this became her purpose to research and identify common factors of these survivor’s cures – which she refers to as radical remissions. The book summarises her decade of research, her thousand interviews of patients and finally identifies the nine key factors that can improve people’s chance’s of remission.
I was thrilled and amazed that most of my steps to recovery from MS mirrored those of these cancer survivor factors.
As with all the other health professionals work I feature in my book ‘A Journey of Creative Healing,’ I sought Dr Turner’s permission to use material attributed to her work. She is also the founder of the The Radical Remission Project that is dedicated to continuing research and creating a community for survivors, patients, guests, and health professionals and the Project’s mission is to collect and verify survivor stories so that these in turn may help others. Although not a cancer survivor I was asked to document my healing from MS, over half a century ago, to add to their data.
Imagine my delight today to find that I am The Radical Remission Healing Story of the Month. (March 2018).
I acknowledge that some sickness is more immediately life threatening than others but I still see that sickness has the same commonality whatever diagnostic label you give it. Looking at the enormous contribution of Kelly Turner’s work and my singular, but no less effective, anecdotal story of recovery, it appears the predominant common denominators of improving your chances of recovery to wellness are: Taking control of your health, listening and acting upon your intuition, releasing suppressed emotions, embracing social support, deepening your spiritual awareness and having a strong reason for living.
There are other factors in Kelly’s book – you need to read it – and yes in my case, the vital icing-on-the-cake factor was to consistently put my focus on doing something that gave me joy – – a Daily Creative Project.
For the past thirty years I have trained food professionals and media celebrities to find their voice, worked with keynote speakers to hone their presentations, adjudicated school debates, organised food and wine conferences with speaking and entertainment programs that left the audience wanting more and produced live cooking shows using the talent of Australia’s leading chefs and celebrities. As the author of Finding Your Voice – 10 Steps to Successful Public Speaking and an award winning speaker I can say, without false modesty – I know what it takes for a speaker to light up the auditorium.
Is it enough to articulate well, present your facts logically and perform capably? With preparation and practice any speaker will become a competent speaker. An audience will appreciate these speakers’ efforts but will this adequate proficiency stay with them?
Don’t you want the audience to leave the building with your name on their lips and your message in their hearts?
This magic ingredient that lifts you from the mundane is your style, your brand, your charisma.
First lets look at how charisma (from the Greek meaning gift) is defined by others who have a vested interest in understanding this characteristic. Research from psychologists, talent scouts and even a high-powered charisma coach showed that there is no chutzpah fairy Godmother at our birth randomly waving her DNA wand – ‘here Norma Jean and Oprah a bucket-gene-full of compelling-appeal for you gals but none for you lot.’ They agreed that charisma can be a learned behaviour.
Common characteristics they identified were:
- Emotional expressiveness – in other words allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
- Empathy with others – socially sensitive
- Exuding joy and warmth
- Being present in the moment, being in the flow
- Stand firmly in your power
- Mirroring others body language
- Accepting your introversion or inadequacies
- Voice – a measured tempo and lowering your intonation at the end of the sentence.
So the promise is – if you practice standing chest out, shoulders back, arms wide you are seen as powerful. If you practice being in the moment, being socially aware and caring you will be flagging your empathy. If you accept your inadequacies and use visualisation techniques to boost your moral you will overcome and be centred and strong. If you risk telling others a secret or a weakness you will have emotionally connected with another. If you mirror others body movements then they will like and trust you. And if you train yourself to lower your voice, present in a measured way and put warmth in your voice from a smile on your dial you will have achieved the holy grail of panache gravitas – yes, yes, yes – charisma.
To me the most important things in this worthy research is that when you have the courage to accept your shadow and light and be vulnerable where all barriers are down, firm in your stance of bugger what the world is deciding about you – you are authentic. You have no need to fudge emotional and social expressiveness and sensitivity that becomes a taken. You will be in the present. You will naturally stand in your power and your voice takes on its own dimension of authority.
Consider comedian Billy Connolly who exudes high-octane charisma as he invites us into his fragile world. Even though his language would normally offend we don’t mind in fact see it as part of his charm as we rock and lock into his brand of humour. This man is no oil painting there is no glossy image, he looks as though he could do with a good hair and beard trim but we don’t care he gives us unfettered admission into his spirit. His transparent spirit of mischief and joy, making light of his foibles and life wounds connects us at a deep level of consciousness.
Is it worth the risk of being true to yourself? You betcha. Just ask any speaker who has crossed the divide between platform and audience. ‘It is like holding the audience in the palm of your hand,’ said one speaker glorying in the joy of connection.
*Want to know more? Read my previous post ‘The Path to Your Real Self’
* For Millennials – substitute Russell Brand for Billy Connolly!
Regrets I have a few, but most too personal to mention. It would be a rhino-opic wallow in the muddy waters of the ego if I indulged these tales of remorse. But one regret that bares writing about and should not exploit the reader’s emotions is that why did computers come so late into my life to try me?
I have just spent three hours getting my old Apple I Phone to sync with my new very smart 7.06 model. Am I talking your language? Cause if so I need you in my life.
The saga is too long, too complicated and would bore you but if I say old software not only on my computer but on the phone, needed upgrading, computer not compatible with new upgrade, phone in two different names ……. You, who cheerfully and confidently punch a couple of keys to fix any techo problem would know how to fix this in a jiffy.
I learned to type on the metal rimmed keys of an old Remmington that beside ripping the quicks of your finger nails they needed the strength of Samson to depress the keys to leave their metal imprint on the page. You could say I am like stone-age man who has been given a box of matches and a packet of fire-lighters where all he has ever known is the act of rubbing two sticks together to make fire.
I am completely challenged when it comes to understanding how a computer works, the penny dropping moment of understanding is hard won. In my defense I do try. It’s just that I seem to come to the solution so tardily. We used to call it Sod’s Law in my day that you tried every way but which way before success came.
Still I did it! I transferred, strike transferred, I synced all my data from one mobile to the newie. I can put the frustration behind me until the next challenge.
Then once more I will say but not in a shy way – regrets I have a few…….
Who, why,what & when – getting your Audience to love you
Who are your audience?
You need to appreciate how your audience is made up. What age range does the audience fit into? Do they all have a common interest?
Why are they at this occasion?
Is it work related or for relaxation? What is the unifying factor that bring them together?
What is the occasion?
You need to understand the significance of the occasion and how you can make your speech relevant or themed to the event or organisation.
When is the speech to be given?
The time of day will affect the response of the your audience. Breakfast meetings audiences you will find generally their retention of real information is at its peak. An after lunch or dinner audience filled with good food, wine and company will be relaxed and looking for humour. Conference audiences are a there for a purpose and so will make the effort to retain information delivered but early afternoon audiences definitely flag. Time for a speaker to preface their presentation by getting the audience to do a gentle physical stretch or two.
Whatever the time of the day audiences will always respond to humour and if it is self deprecating even more so.