Sunday, July 1, 2012

When lightning strikes!

On Friday I finished two weeks teaching back-to-back classes at American University's intense Discover the World of Communications program for high school students. I spent three hours every morning with incredible youth leaders and leaders-in-training, sharing my approach to public speaking in a course called "Speaking for Impact." The afternoon I was with young filmmakers who wanted to explore being in front of and behind the camera in "Acting & Directing for Camera." It was a whirlwind!

I kept thinking I need to blog about the experience, but kept putting it off because a) I was pretty brain-fried when I came home after teaching (and commuting into DC during rush hour -- which I am not used to -- and which doesn't seem to be any better in the summer), and b) I could not think of one overarching theme to distill into a blog post.

And then, Friday night we got hit with an incredible storm in Northern Virginia.  So the power was out for 30 hours and I couldn't blog if I wanted to.

I got to thinking, though, about different types of power, and realized that I had been dealing with variations on the theme of power for the past two weeks (an insight I may share with the new batch of "Speaking for Impact"-ers tomorrow).

Communication is a tool. Used the right way, it can yield enormous power. We often forget that. It only takes a second to make a lasting impression. Sometimes, we connect with people instantly. Crackle! You feel the electricity, like a lightning strike. Other times we have the luxury of establishing a relationship that unfolds, over time, like a lazy summer shower that gives us gifts of rainbows. But always, when we successfully communicate, we connect: there is a transference of energy from one person to another. And back again.

A successful communicator disturbs the atmosphere: We feel enveloped by her or his presence, energy and message. Much like a good lightning storm, a good speaker (and filmmaker, for that matter) generates electricity.
Feel the power!

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