Book Buzz! “Make no mistake: this is not a book about public speaking. This is a book about public living! It’s a call to a way of being, a way that each of us can put ourselves in the world. And it is a reminder that the world needs each of us to bring all of us to all we do. The future is calling. Here is the response.” —Alan M. Webber, founding editor, Fast Company magazine; chairman, The Waldzell Meeting “Public speaking is a way to enter people’s hearts, minds and psyches. Not all people have the inclination to speak their truth in a public fashion but if done properly, a good orator can turn people’s minds and hearts and psyches onto a course that they had never considered nor thought possible. This book certainly inspires the best in people to follow their path.” —Dr. Helen Caldicott, cofounder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, founder and president of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer “In every area of life, success is largely a matter of being authentic. You can’t fake it on the court or in front of the camera. You can’t really fool people; you’ve got to be real. Robert’s new book proves this point. He inspires us to speak with authenticity, from the heart.” —John Salley, 4-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion, TV host “Finding your own authentic voice is without doubt the steepest and rockiest path to take for many people who have learned it is better to stay quiet. It is so easy to deny our own destiny because of our fear of rejection, our anxiety that what we have to say will not be taken seriously or will somehow upset those around us. Robert’s book is an inspiration; it demonstrates on every page and in every story how our destiny is absolutely in our own hands, and indeed in our own voice. By speaking out about what we hold within is how we light the dark corners of this world for others, and in doing so we ﬁnd the brilliance of our own souls and the purpose of our own being. Robert is a talented teacher, but his genius is inviting his pupils to speak for themselves — not just in his workshops but in his book — so that we can hear a chorus of voices inviting us to ﬁnd our own.” —Adrian Gilpin, chairman, Institute of Human Development “RealTime Speaking tackles a subject that is close to my heart: personal empowerment through storytelling. Each of the essayists was called to face a fear or break through a limitation, and their honest accounts of their experiences are very moving. As for Robert Rabbin, he is a master of prose and clearly a man who has faced his own demons and come through wiser, stronger, humbler, and more loving.” —Liliane Grace, speaker and author of The Mastery Club: See the Invisible, Hear the Silent, Do the Impossible
YOU Are the Message! | i
“A great deal has been achieved within these pages. Robert’s inspired thinking has been vividly brought to life by 26 ordinary-extraordinary individuals, themselves all practitioners of his RealTime Speaking philosophy. This book contains not only valuable lessons for all public speakers, but a powerful and uplifting compilation of real people getting real about their lives, and in the process couraging and empowering others to do the same.” —David Ohana, ﬁlm director, 2002 Young Australian of the Year for Community Service “As children we are fully self-expressed — we run screaming to the edge of the pool and jump straight in. We don’t check how deep it is, we just jump right in, conﬁdent that we will make the biggest and loudest splash ever made in the history of splashes and that we will be OK. Then somewhere along the way, we lose our voice, our ability to speak our truth. We are trapped in a world of trying to impress others, getting it right, not being too bold or outrageous, not being too straight or too loud or achieving too much or too little. RealTime Speaking is an extraordinary book that gives you access to your own humanity through the open, courageous sharing of others. Reading it was like looking in a mirror and I know that you will see yourself in each essay in some way. You get to experience the inspiring, heartwarming accounts of people just like you, as they once again discover their voice — and as their ability to Live Out Loud returns.” —Leanne Koster, founding director, Indigo magazine “Robert is one of those Xtra-ordinary people who is absolutely committed to assisting others achieve self-realization, and he does so with a colorful blend of humor, reverence, irreverence, fun, play, and seriousness all wrapped up in a caring ‘Live Out Loud’ fashion. His book has been created with the same fabric, allowing others to share, in their own words, their personal journey to empowerment. It is a magnanimous gift to assist others, then to step aside as they shine forth, blossom, and become a wondrous tall poppy.” —Robyn Walker, producer and presenter of Conversations with Robyn TV program “Robert Rabbin has produced a deﬁnitive guidebook to unfolding integrity and presence, sincerity and power into modern communication — and these are the things that will connect you to your audience. In many years of presenting Ayurveda seminars, courses of study, and personal counseling and consultations, I have consistently found one truth above all else: you are the message. It is what the audience sees in you that gives them the impetus to take further action, whether that be to change lifestyle habits, mend their health and happiness, or whatever other course of action you would like them to adopt. In the end, it is you who will be the biggest inﬂuence for them to change. So like it or not, your integrity, your sincerity, your strengths and your presence are all on display for all to see — and they will see them, and base their next step on those factors more than any other “information” you may give them. RealTime Speaking contains powerful stories of lives changed for the better; of old, often intractable fears overcome; and of long-held dreams ﬁnally realized. Read it and learn — I have found it full of wisdom for life.” —Andrew Stenberg MSCI, Vedic health educator, Ayurveda practitioner, corporate health consultant
ii | RealTime Speaking
“Throughout his entire incarnation, Robert Rabbin has been clearing a path to enlightenment for real people. Enlightenment, for anyone who has ever pursued it, is tricky business. It is my opinion that with RealTime Speaking, Robert has found the direct means to help all who dare come into direct contact with the light of their original Self. By overcoming our fear of revealing our authentic nature to others through the art of public speaking, we become a light unto ourselves, the sublime goal of enlightenment. But, lest we think this is heavy business and Robert some tyrannical taskmaster, we can relax. Within these pages are not only stories of enlightenment, but also of lightening up. When we speak our truth, we regain the natural ease that is our birthright as little photons of divine light and become effortless emissaries of truth. The essays in this book are beautiful, inspiring, and transformative. Bravo, Robert Rabbin, bravo.” —Rev. Tami Coyne, author of Your Life’s Work: A Guide To Creating A Spiritual And Successful Work Life “The alchemy between Robert and those who work with him is mirrored in RealTime Speaking, a book of real people in real time exploring their vulnerability and ﬁnding their voice to express a deepening love of life. An inspiring read!” —Ann Harrison, founding director, Breathwork Trainings International “RealTime Speaking is one of those rare gems that takes you on a journey to the depths of the soul as told by ordinary people, in out of the ordinary ways. Robert’s book is like looking through a window into the human soul. It is touching, exhilarating and deeply moving! It gives the reader a sense of profound respect, courage, and inspiration for what it takes to move from fear to freedom!” —Sandhi Spiers, founding director, Wholistic Business Network “There are so many inspiring stories here that show how vital it is to liberate oneself from crippling inhibitions and learn to speak, interact, and live honestly — accepting and sharing the real you. That is the path to growth, fulﬁllment, and joy.” —Gaytana Adorna, director, Talking Business; host of The Best Medicine radio show “Why do we ﬁnd it so hard to speak our truth and show our true self? Why do we hide our authentic essence and inner voice from the world? We are afraid of what might happen. What will people think? Sometimes it takes a special somebody to come along and pull us out of our self-created closets, with the words: ‘Show me your true self, whatever that looks like in this moment!’ Robert Rabbin is one of those special somebodys, a dynamic force of nature and a living embodiment of authentic presence. If we dare to answer the call we are deliciously surprised to discover it isn’t so scary after all to stand in our truth, speak from our heart and show the world our innermost soul. In fact it’s, what is this feeling … ahhh, liberation! We are free at last, free at last, from all that covered and bound us. “Imagine that we are all co-writers in humanity’s book of life, and we all get to write one page sharing our story. What will humanity’s book look like if we hold back from full exposure of our colorful, crazy, painful, wonderful lives? We have to honor our whole truth and experience, we have to honor our authentic being
YOU Are the Message! | iii
with all its dreams and despairs, or else each page will be a mere carbon copy of the page before, and how boring would that be?! RealTime Speaking shows us how amazing and rich our book of humanity will be as each one of us, one by one, share our authentic selves. We can be inspired by the people who have shared their stories here with courage, daring to stand before their brothers and sisters, saying without apology, This is my true self. This is my story.” —Dana Mrkich, author of A New Chapter, content editor for Urth.TV “As we enter the 21st century we have clearly crossed into an unprecedented global age in which our diverse cultures, religions, ideologies, worldviews, and perspectives have increasingly come into intensive interaction in the marketplace of the global village. Most often there is violent breakdown in the clash of worlds where communication fails and human relations deteriorate. At the same time the collective wisdom of the ages makes clear that we humans co-create our living realities through the conduct of our minds — our thinking, our speech, our discourse. When we live and speak from egomental (or mono-centric) patterns of mind we invariably fall into chronic patterns of fragmentation, polarization, and diverse forms of individual and cultural pathologies. By contrast, our global wisdom teaches that when we mature into more integral and deep dialogic patterns of living, speaking, and minding, we advance to a higher form of compassionate life where we ﬂourish together as one human family sharing our sacred earth. “Robert Rabbin in RealTime Speaking is aligned with this treasury of global wisdom in bringing to life the power of authentic speaking — living out loud — speaking from our awakened heart-mind and coming forth as authentic humans. Our true Being is our deep speaking and living in patterns of deep dialogue. Speaking from the heart comes from our deepest well-being and not from our ego-mental voice. The potent and assessable lesson from this wonderful book speaks powerfully to the most pressing needs of our time as we mature as a human species and advance to sustainable cultures. We urgently need to gain literacy in RealTime Speaking and living out loud from this awakening global consciousness.” —Ashok K. Gangadean, Ph.D., professor and chair of philosophy at Haverford College, cofounder of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality, author of The Awakening of the Global Mind “RealTime Speaking: YOU Are the Message! will be remembered as a catalyst for truth, authenticity, connection, and empowerment long after the ﬁnal pages have been read. We live in a time of instant communication, extreme social networking, and a desire to connect and be connected. It could be suggested that such an era would lead us to closer, more powerful and symbolic relationships yet more than ever we are becoming detached and disillusioned. What is missing is everything that Robert Rabbin champions. Across age, gender, culture, religion and status - authentic communication of self must transcend. This book is an important step towards creating a dialogue that will bring us all closer together. I look forward to sharing in this journey.” —Adam Smith, CEO, Education Foundation Australia
iv | RealTime Speaking
RealTime Speaking YOU ARE THE MESSAGE!
Published by RealTime Speaking Richmond, Victoria, Australia firstname.lastname@example.org www.realtimespeaking.com Copyright © Robert Rabbin 2008 All rights reserved. The right of Robert Rabbin to be identiﬁed as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. Apart from short passages for the purposes of study, research, criticism, or review, no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author. Copyright owners of quoted material are named in on-page credits. The worldwide publishing rights of this work are the exclusive property of Robert Rabbin. Edited in American English, using the RTS stylebook. Book cover design by Jane Green of Everlasting Magic Design. email@example.com www.everlastingmagicdesign.com Interior design by Luke Harris of Chameleondesign. www.chameleondesign.com.au Printed and bound in Australia by Grifﬁn Press. www.grifﬁnpress.com.au National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: Rabbin, Robert RealTime Speaking: YOU Are the Message RealTime Speaking, 2008, Richmond VIC ISBN 9780646487762 (pbk.) Subjects: Public Speaking Dewey Number: 808.51 Additional copies of this book can be purchased on the RTS website. Special bulk purchase discounts of this book are available for educational and non-proﬁt uses, corporate and association gift giving, and for use as premiums, incentives, and promotions. Discounts to the book trade and other resellers are available, as are publishing and translation rights. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org www.realtimespeaking.com
Appreciations My heartfelt gratitude, love, and respect go to: Each of the beauties who contributed an essay for this book. Their courage to speak their truth with authenticity and vulnerability inspires us all to ﬁnd within ourselves an equivalent conﬁdence, courage, and freedom. They demonstrate in unique and universal ways the wildly creative and cosmically powerful possibilities of self-expression; Drew Ginn and Lynette Palmen, for blessing this book with their Foreword and Preface, respectively, and for enriching my life with their friendship; All of the people who kindly took time from their busy schedules to read and generously endorse this book, with a special thank you to Dr. Helen Caldicott, one of my public speaking heroes; Sharon Pamela Spears, for her steadfast support of my uncharted adventure, much like Queen Isabella did for Christopher Columbus; Mary Delaney, for her Zen master koan-question; Sherrie Hatﬁeld and Robert Tichelaar, for their blast-off rocket fuel; Jane Green, for her many soulful and artistic contributions to this book and my website; Sophia Scorcia, who came to one of my talks in New York when she was three years old, wearing her special dress and tiara just for me. Since then, I’ve delighted from afar in her enormous expressive exploits, from piano and ballet to raising money for school kids in Afghanistan; My siblings, in spite of the fact they disavow a DNA connection and often forget my name: Rick, Nino, Dalai Sandra, and Gina, to whom I send special thanks for her invaluable editorial assistance. Between Gina and Sandra, I have no favorite, though the game is still afoot. Every man has his price.
YOU Are the Message! | vii
Table of Contents Foreword Preface
Drew Ginn OAM ................ xi Lynette L. Palmen AM ...... XV
RealTime Speaking The Waldzell Moment Just Speak From Your Heart The Upward Spiral Signal To Noise Synchronicity Weekend of Epiphanies The Choice to be Authentic Roar Open Plan Living Playing with Passion Information Obsession Choosing Conﬁdence Realizing Shame is not the Ultimate Reality Dark Night of the Soul Be Happy with Yourself Recovering My Voice Remaining Present Undoing the Past My Authentic Song My Aunt’s 50th Birthday Do Your Lovin’ Thing Freedom to Live a Full Life Sing Your Own Song Unusual Clarity Wake Up, Anjela!
Robert Rabbin ................... 2 Laurent S. Labourmène .. 14 Sherrie Hatﬁeld ............... 23 Caroline Power ................. 33 Andrew Heeps ................ 42 Hermine Zielinski .......... 49 Dana Carr ........................ 56 Linley Anderson .............. 65 Kate Bezar ......................... 71 Michael Jensen ................ 79 Suzanne Saad .................. 88 Lynn Berry ....................... 97 Nicole Lloyd .................... 107 Ian Nesbitt ....................... 115 Carla Van Raay .............. 126 Margaret Gill .................. 132 Alex Jeffares ................... 139 Michelle Wilson ............ 146 Adam Wilson .................. 153 Ida Lyall .......................... 159 Bianca Pickett ................. 167 John Anderson ............... 172 Amy Tait ......................... 176 Mary Delaney ................. 185 Sky Shayne Innes .......... 192 Leesa Counihan ............ 205 Anjela Wong ................... 212
Glossary RealTime Speaking
viii | RealTime Speaking
..........................................218 ......................................... 221
RealTime Speaking YOU ARE THE MESSAGE!
proﬁle Drew Ginn OAM
s a father, husband, athlete, keynote speaker, consultant, and coach, I’m many things to many people, including myself, each of which is richly rewarding and each of which expands my knowledge, horizons, and capacity to communicate. In 1996, I was 20 and lucky enough to be a member of Australia’s Oarsome Foursome as we won gold in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In 2004, I paired with the legendary James Tomkins to secure gold in Athens. The lessons learned from rowing and sport have been valuable for me, and have helped me to understand how to improve performance and transform thinking and beliefs about what is possible on the sporting ﬁeld and in the business world. In 2006 I could have walked the same path to Beijing with James, as we did with Athens, but I chose differently. Rather, I’ve paired myself with Duncan Free and embraced a new challenge in an attempt to explore new frontiers and opportunities. Challenging conventional views and embracing change have become a key to my success as a performance coach. I focus on the process and not the outcome, which is the metaphor I often use when relating my rowing to business. The sporting metaphor is a powerful tool to engage and assist people, cultures, and companies to create optimal performance environments. As a principle performance coach with Qualia Consulting & Associates, I work with a range of groups from corporate Australia to local communities and schools, helping them to create learning and high-performance environments. This is not a one way street. I have no doubt I learn more than I teach. I am also involved with a number of organisations, including the KIDS Foundation, Bluearth Institute, and Relay for Life. It’s often said that life imitates art. In my case life is imitating sport. I choose the ﬁnish line and the race has only just begun. email@example.com
x | RealTime Speaking
Foreword Drew Ginn OAM
o work with Robert Rabbin is to share an experience that goes beyond the conventional. He is a marvel, an exception, and a person who has cared enough to unearth, demystify, and assist so many to stand tall and speak from the heart. It is by no means an easy step to take, but a step that is essential in the journey of self-discovery. Facing a fear is never easy, and certainly speaking in public is often regarded as one of our greatest fears, one of life’s great challenges. That’s why RealTime Speaking is important, because it shares the vast perspectives and experiences of many people who have engaged this fear and who have taken up this challenge. In RealTime Speaking, Robert has brought together an amazing variety of people who share intensely compelling accounts of their experiences in reclaiming their power to stand tall and speak from the heart. In his Commentaries, he ﬁnds a way to honor them for their courage and capacity to share their stories while illuminating the dynamics of their process. When Robert asked me to write the Foreword for his book, I immediately became excited, and I also became aware of a fear around my ability to articulate and convey a message about this book and its concepts, about each person’s story, and about Robert as the book’s guide. As I contemplated all of this, I suddenly had more questions than answers about how we relate to the activity of speaking and presenting, along with the whole range of feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensations that go hand in hand with these considerations. What is in a phrase, or a word, or an expression? What is in the silence or space between the sounds? What is in what we say and what we hear? What is it that creates the wonderfully intoxicating communication between a speaker and an audience, when the ﬂow, the message, and the connection strike the most beautiful of cords? What is it that really holds us back from sharing our heart, and telling the truth? And what is it that makes it all so worth-
YOU Are the Message! | xi
while, when ﬁnally we let go and express ourselves from our core? This book has many of the answers. The courage it takes to step into this space of vulnerability and expose oneself is inspiring. Personally I have always found that the most engaging speakers and presenters share their “imperfections.” The connection they make with an audience comes from their real and lived experiences. The effort and energy that comes from sharing their stories is one that involves a degree of struggle. Communicating with authenticity is a gift and it can transform the life of the individual who has the courage to take the leap. It also has the capacity to inﬂuence and impact others in a most remarkable way. In reading the stories in this book, we realize and understand that the anxieties and fears around public speaking and making presentations are not unique to us. We are not alone in struggling to realize our full capacity for authentic self-expression. Finally, standing up and speaking from our heart is a most rewarding pleasure, but it’s one that does not come without its challenges. RealTime Speaking is an exciting expression of many people, speaking in different voices and from different perspectives. It also expresses the obvious effort of one person’s mission to remind people of their own courage and capacity to stand up and speak their truth, from their core. This work is inspirational and is presented with care.
xii | RealTime Speaking
proﬁle Lynette L. Palmen AM
eventeen years ago, I gathered a few girlfriends together for lunch with a view to sharing business information and ideas. That lunch is still going on, except now the table is much larger with many more people sitting around it. We call it the Women’s Network Australia, and I am the founding managing director. WNA is Australia’s fastest growing membership-based organization for business and professional women with an impressive register of 4,000 members, and each month an additional 40,000 businesswomen log onto WNA’s website to exchange information, business contacts, advice, and support. As a strong advocate for working women, I am fortunate to have held the position of Deputy Chair of the Premier’s Council for Women, advising the government on policy direction. I also co-chaired the CEO Challenge – Business Against Domestic Violence Initiative for Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, and I sat on the Department of Industrial Relations Work and Family Task Force. In 2004 I was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday’s Honors List, for service to the community, particularly through promoting public awareness of existing and emerging issues affecting women, and in providing expertise to a range of charitable and not-for-proﬁt organizations. I spend much of my time traveling across the nation speaking to, for, and about women in business and the issues that are important to them and their success in the corporate, small business, and home-based sectors. I don’t mind saying my business style is bold and upfront. The integrity and ethics with which I live my personal life must be present in my work life. I have disposed of the business survival mechanism of wearing different hats that separate and compartmentalize the different segments of my life. These days if a business project doesn’t sit with my life’s purpose and ethics then I just don’t do it. I have learned that this is the secret to
YOU Are the Message! | xiii
my true power. Through my speaking engagements, mentoring, writing, and WNA forums I gain much satisfaction from sharing this philosophy with others. firstname.lastname@example.org www.womensnetwork.com.au
xiv | RealTime Speaking
Preface Lynette L. Palmen AM
t takes a special individual to capture my attention and a brave one to interrupt me mid-sentence — both of which author and presenter Robert Rabbin has done. This man is a human dynamo and yet empathy exudes from his very being. His words are otherworldly yet down to earth, and he has an outstanding ability to open people’s minds to the amazing possibilities life has to offer. Robert’s latest book would have to be this year’s must-read book for anyone wanting to unshackle themselves from all that pushes them down, holds them back, or keeps them quiet. If you want your voice to be heard, if you want to stand up and speak out with courage and conﬁdence, you will ﬁnd this book to be an inspiration. It is written with compassion and knowledge and layered liberally with Robert’s philosophy that if you are prepared to step up and “super size” your life through authentic speaking, nothing will ever phase you. Robert has an ability to empower those he meets into sharing their innermost thoughts and dreams and speaking bravely about the pain, fear, or doubt that holds them captive and prevents them from being whoever and whatever they want to be. His awesome trait is clearly played out in this book as 26 courageous individuals tell their stories and show how much freer and bigger and richer life becomes when we choose to speak publicly with authenticity and integrity — and from the heart. If you shy away from public speaking and from shining your light brightly in fear of being labeled a show-off or of being perceived as hogging the limelight, then please consider this: why waste your time standing there if you’re not going to stand out? I believe there is a great speaker inside all of us, but we have to recognize and believe we have something valuable to share. It is this self-conﬁdence that determines whether people will listen to us and whether our voice will be heard. It’s no secret that for many the thought of speaking to an audience of more than one person can literally produce paralysis. I remember reading a survey some
YOU Are the Message! | xv
years ago that reported most people, if given the choice between giving the eulogy or being in the casket, would actually prefer the latter! Can we arrive at the place where speaking to a group of people feels like second nature? Can we feel authentic and powerful and conﬁdent when speaking in front of others? Can we truly speak our truth in the face of criticism and judgment? Robert says yes, yes, and yes — and he and his band of RealTime Speakers show us how. The book concentrates speciﬁcally on inspiring readers to stand up and speak out with a newfound level of conﬁdence and freedom. Through the many personal stories of triumph and Robert’s commentaries, you are given valuable insights into how you can reach your full potential, both professionally and personally. If you’re over suffering from that red rash creeping up your neck, hands perspiring profusely, a quivery voice, and your stomach turning upside down whilst you wait your turn to talk, this is the book for you. Robert takes us on a path of examining the intention with which we speak and the authenticity we bring to every moment of our speaking. I love the concept behind this book as it matches my own value system: you can’t win anything or anyone over until you believe you are a winner yourself. You have to believe in yourself. But the point that struck me most when I read Robert’s book is that all the principles he provides to vanquish the fear of public speaking apply equally to any aspect of life where fear is running rampant. Enjoy the book, be conﬁdent, speak up, stand out — shine!
xvi | RealTime Speaking
proﬁle Robert Rabbin
y personal motto is Have Mouth, Will Travel. For the past 20 years, I’ve made my living with my mouth — as a public speaker, executive advisor, leadership and communication consultant, and personal growth and self-awareness teacher. In these capacities, I have delivered hundreds of talks. I have previously published ﬁve books and more than 200 articles. Even my writing is a kind of speaking, in that its expressive energy comes from the same place where my speaking comes from, where life comes from, from down there where everything is breathing and something unfathomable and impossible to get our mind around is being hatched. I am deliriously happy and thrilled to be alive and to be sharing with others the possibility of reclaiming our authentic voice, of speaking our truth, of living out loud from down deep, of surﬁng the endless and inexhaustible big waves of our innate creative and expressive power. In keeping with my motto, I want to afﬁrm that I am ready, willing, and able to travel anywhere to deliver keynote talks and RealTime Speaking programs. email@example.com www.realtimespeaking.com
YOU Are the Message! | 1
RealTime Speaking Robert Rabbin
he French novelist Emile Zola wrote, “If you ask me why I came to this Earth, I will tell you. I came to live out loud.” And so have I. And so have the people whose essays appear in this book. And so have we all, don’t you think? Living out loud. What a gorgeous phrase. Let those simple words, I came to live out loud, sink down into your very depths where creation itself is at work, 15 billion years after the whole thing started, working within you to animate and enliven your cells, energizing you with the most magical and miraculous sensation of all: life itself. Living out loud is what life does, in dramatic and dynamic ways across distances that even light years can’t traverse. Living out loud. No, this is not a permission slip for reckless, belligerent, or hateful bellowing; rather, it encourages our individual and collective destiny to manifest the full unfettered beauty and wild strangeness and delicate strength of our innate creative and expressive powers with the same gargantuan powers that created this entire universe. Live out loud. Living out loud through public speaking is my great love. Although it took me longer than I like to admit, I ﬁnally ﬁgured out that my life-long search for meaning and purpose was really an insistent need to live and to speak from the most authentic place of creative and expressive power within me. It turns out I was not after self-realization. I was after authentic self-expression! Karl Wallenda, the famous patriarch of the aerialist family The Flying Wallendas, once said, “Life is walking the high wire with no net. Everything else is just waiting around.” Public speaking is my high wire. Public speaking calls to me like the high wire called to Karl Wallenda. Stepping onto the wire, I come to my greatest alertness and aliveness. I am infused with shakti, with life-force, with the very creative power that brought forth the universe. I become so focused, so present, so attentive to the here and now that all self-centered concerns, all thoughts of past and future, dissolve.
2 | RealTime Speaking
Even a few minutes in this strange and familiar place of timelessness and presence, of speaking my way across a high wire with no net, of entering the ﬁerce presence of life here and now, even a few seconds of speaking in and from this place changes me, and my history, and my future — each time. I am tempted to say every talk is a kind of hero’s journey, about which mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won … .” The decisive victory of the hero’s journey of high wire speaking is the triumph of authenticity, a personal victory of courage, truth, and transparency over fear, pretense, and repression. I call this way of speaking RealTime Speaking. I call this way of living RealTime Speaking. You’ll see in the Glossary that I deﬁne public speaking as “speaking with anyone other than yourself, regardless of numbers, venue, or purpose.” Do not confuse public speaking with lecturing or giving keynotes. Those are two types of public speaking. We are all public speakers. Moreover, speaking itself is more than the words that come out of our mouth and more than the nonverbal signals of meaning and intent we transmit. Speaking is how we move in and through life. Our speaking tells the true story of who we are and how we live. If we are to live a true life, a vibrant and vivid life, then our speaking will reveal, rather than conceal, our heart — the truth of who we are, what we are doing, and what we stand for. RealTime Speaking (RTS) is about getting real, about speaking with authenticity and integrity, courage and conﬁdence. In August of 2002, the American big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton rode a wave at Chopu, in Tahiti, of such mass, power, and ferocity that Sam George, editor of Surfer magazine, said, “… it completely restructured our entire perception of what was possible.” RealTime Speaking is this same wave, except that it is within us, and the restructured perception of what is possible has to do with the power and potential of our self-expression, and public speaking in particular. This book, and RealTime Speaking, is a radical and revolutionary way of speaking our way through
YOU Are the Message! | 3
life. It is to common communication what big-wave surﬁng is to splish-splashing on a belly-board in one foot of surf. At the end of one of her poems, Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you intend to do with your one wild and precious life?” If we take this question deep inside, to the very depths, then our answer is our speaking. Our speaking is really a matter of how we live, or how we don’t live, moment to moment in the here and now. RTS teaches us to speak from the heart, but please don’t confuse “heart” with sentimentality or weakness. RealTime Speaking is pragmatic and powerful, practical and passionate. RealTime Speaking requires your authentic presence. You’ve got to show up so that even the most suspicious wild animal would believe you. Authenticity and integrity, presence and transparency, these are not limp ideologies. They are acute actions and bold behaviors. They are earth and rock as much as they are mist and moonlight. What distinguishes RealTime Speaking from common and conventional public speaking and presentation skills courses and workshops? What’s unique about RealTime Speaking, its philosophy, principles, and practices? This book is the answer. But here are two signposts, telling comments from evaluation surveys of participants in corporate workshops: “You can do 1,000 presentation workshops and learn the same techniques, but if you’re not aware of the underlying reason you hate to speak, and are afraid to speak up, then how helpful will they ultimately be? One week after class, I still feel that the impediments, fears, and limiting beliefs I wrote about at the start of the class are no longer an issue. I think they are gone forever.” “It was great how Robert had us look at the psychological, emotional, and spiritual levels of speaking, not just the how to. I think that traditional speaking techniques are OK to help you block out some fears and nervousness, but Robert looked more at what those fears were and why they are there and how to get rid of them. His slant on public speaking is the one that I always thought was missing in other workshops.” RealTime Speaking is about public speaking in its truest meaning; it is about living out loud, about liberating the full measure of our creative power and expressive potential. If we do not ﬁrst free
4 | RealTime Speaking
our speaking spirit from the repressive tyranny of self-doubt and suppression, we will never ﬁnd the song only we can sing and all our speaking will be off key, shallow and ﬂat. And so will our life be shallow and ﬂat, as our great dreams and aspirations remain unspoken, dying or dead within us. But if we reclaim our power of speaking with authenticity, conﬁdence, and connection, then something huge and wonderful happens, magically and mysteriously, almost inevitably. We begin to live out loud! We begin to ﬁnd our true voice, and our true life. Meaning and purpose, accomplishment and achievement, success and happiness — all these come to us as a result of our RealTime Speaking. What’s in it for you to speak this way? Everything. RealTime Speaking energizes your whole life, like ﬂoodlights screaming into all the dark rooms of your vast house, lighting them up as if on ﬁre. From profound self-knowledge, to intimacy with another, to personal credibility, to leadership believability, to professional impeccability — it’s all there. It’s all in your speaking, in your living out loud. As a public speaker, and we are all public speakers, our audience wants to know one thing above all else, and they want to know it from the start, before they’re even willing to listen to what we have to say. They, we, want to know: are you for real? Are you a real human being who is going to speak the truth, who is going to speak with transparency and integrity, with authenticity and vulnerability? Are you for real? Maybe I won’t agree with your message or point of view, maybe I won’t be impressed with your PowerPoint, maybe I won’t like you, maybe I won’t be persuaded to do what you want me to do. But I won’t even get to these considerations if I don’t think you’re for real. We, as speakers, have got to be real, which is what RealTime Speaking is about. YOU are the message. I developed RealTime Speaking in response to a question by Mary Delaney, an award-winning interior designer who lives in Melbourne, Australia. In late 2005, Mary came up to me after one of my two-day personal growth workshops and asked, “Can you teach me to speak like you do?” Mary said she was very impressed with my ability to speak without notes, nonstop and conﬁdently for eight hours a day, never being at a loss for words,
YOU Are the Message! | 5
all the while listening keenly to each participant’s question or comment, mixing humor with profundity, silence with speaking. Hers was a Zen master’s question, thrilling and perplexing at the same time. At ﬁrst, I didn’t know if I could teach her. I said I would think about it. I knew my speaking and listening were a corollary of 30 years of study and practice in personal growth and meditation, of intensely seeking to become more self-aware, more present, more consciously connected to my own depth of being, to others, and to the world of which I am a part. I wasn’t sure if I could transmit all of this easily and quickly. I went home and reﬂected on how I spoke. As I jotted down a few ideas and principles, I saw that every time I got up to speak, everything came into play, everything was on the line, everything in me stood with me, ready to be revealed. And in that kind of standing up, in that kind of speaking, I also realized how things I never before consciously knew, or felt, or acknowledged, or said — I saw how all this could and often would come roaring into existence to shatter my status quo, my complacency, my certainties and destroy the hidden hiding places of my happy home. I saw in a ﬂash that my life-long quest for self-realization had always been a ﬁerce longing for self-expression! I understood that if I were to teach Mary what I knew about speaking and listening, I’d have to put everything I was, everything I had experienced and learned, all my insights and epiphanies, all my struggles and fears, all my unrealized desires and dreams, all my forbidden fantasies and dark-side haunts, all my secrets — I’d have to put everything into it and on the line. My way of public speaking, which is always surrounded by a silence in which sudden statements come without warning from somewhere deep within, had always been, and continues to be, a dangerous and yet ultimately life-giving game. In my speaking, I was always sharing me, the me I had been, the me I was in that moment, and the me I was becoming through the alchemy of my speaking in that time and place, and with that audience. I was the message. YOU are the message. I called Mary a couple weeks later. I invited her to come to a weekend personal coaching intensive. She did. A few months later, I held my ﬁrst RealTime Speaking work-
6 | RealTime Speaking
shop in May 2006, in the Carnegie, Australia home of Ida Lyall. Five people attended the one-day workshop. That was the beginning. Since then, in workshops and personal coaching sessions, I have worked with all kinds of people, including politicians and corporate executives, non-proﬁt managers and musicians, educators and entrepreneurs, professional speakers and business coaches, holistic healers and spiritual teachers, authors and escorts. In my “YOU Are the Message!” workshop, I teach people to speak publicly with credibility, courage, and conﬁdence; and how to make an authentic connection with an audience as a prerequisite for real communication. In my “Speak for Effect!” workshop, I teach people to use my simple and wildly effective clarifying process, The Five Ps, and organizing tool, the RTS Flight Plan. Using these, people are able to create clear, concise, compelling content and messages for any number of different kinds of speaking scenarios: keynotes, lectures, presentations, meetings, workshops. People come from all walks of life for their own reasons to learn RTS principles and practices. Some people come to learn to speak more freely — as well as to craft clear and concise messages — in order to be better able to sell a product, promote their business, to give talks, to stand in front of media microphones. Some want to be better leaders, and they know their leadership credibility comes from their speaking, from who they are, not from their title, position, or PowerPoint presentation. Some want to be better at teaching or running workshops or meetings. Some want to be better fund-raisers. Some want to be able to say hard things to people close to them, things that are risky because they are so nakedly real and true, and which may rock the boat of complacency. Some want to speak their visions and dreams without fear of failure or rejection. There are as many motivations as people. Of course, when one considers that our success in life depends on our ability to speak and communicate well, it is not surprising that people will sooner or later decide they’d better learn to speak with clarity, credibility, and conﬁdence! But underneath all these reasons is something else, something equally profound. It is spiritual. It is a longing for integrity of being, for wholeness, for authenticity and truth. I received the
YOU Are the Message! | 7
following email in July 2007, which is symbolic of the spiritual longing, the existential need, people have to speak freely: Hello Robert, I have read through the course information for RealTime Speaking and was wondering if you consider the course as life changing? It sounds very powerful, or perhaps I just want it to be so. I have always been quite shy, and anxiety sometimes shuts me down. I fear group speaking and being the centre of attention more than anything. I’m tired of this though. I would like to just be myself, at all times and in any situation, and not feel like my mind or my heart shuts down due to some form of stress. I like what you say and many things ring true to me, but I want to know if I can expect a great shift in my approach to communication with people. This is very important to me now, as I’m tired of feeling weak and closed off from myself, from other people, and from the life that seems to pass me by because I do not speak up when opportunities knock. It feels that something in me is dying, day by day, and only if I let it out will it, and possibly myself, survive. In every workshop, people want to reclaim their lost power of self-expression, they want to heal their wounds of self-doubt and restore their creative vitality from the clutches of repressive selfcensoring. They quickly agree with me when I tell them that full and free self-expression is our natural state! People are ﬁnding the courage and conﬁdence to speak from their hearts. They are healing themselves of criticism-induced and judgment-inﬂicted wounds to their creative and expressive inner being. They are discovering a practical enlightenment, a freedom to bring their deepest self, their truest longings and dreams and aspirations out into the light of day. No longer afraid to see and be seen, they now stand without pretense or defense in their truth, speaking with authenticity and vulnerability, in full and honest connection with others. This is a kind of miracle, I think. Finding their true voice and the conﬁdence to speak with that voice brings each to a state of grace, and in so doing they become a blessing to you and me and to our world. We are all the better for this.
8 | RealTime Speaking
Almost from the beginning, I wanted to write a book about RealTime Speaking, in part to share what I’ve learned about public speaking during my twenty years of doing so; in part to show how public speaking can be a means to professional excellence and distinction, as well as a way of personal growth and spiritual self-realization; and in part to share the profound and poignant stories of people I’ve been honored to work with. After several false starts, I got it. As Edward R. Murrow once said, “The obscure we see eventually, the completely apparent takes longer.” What I ﬁnally realized was that the book needed to be a collaboration between me and workshop participants! The book wanted more than just my voice and perspective. The book wanted a diversity of voices, perspectives, experiences, and applications of RTS principles. I wrote an invitation and emailed it out to everyone with whom I had worked, in workshops and in private coaching sessions. The offer, in essence, was: The book is about RealTime Speaking practices and principles, and it is also about your story and the stories of other people like you and me, who are standing up and speaking our truth from our heart, with courage and conﬁdence and vulnerability, unafraid of the judgments of others and freed from past selflimiting decisions about our creative and expressive power and potential. Your story, in whatever way you want to tell it, is an important part of the book. Essays started arriving within days, more than I could use in this book. The diverse chorus of voices and perspectives I had envisioned was realized, as the submissions came from grandparents, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, nephews and nieces; from corporate managers, school principals, barristers, authors, leadership experts, musicians, spiritual teachers, life coaches, holistic healers, entrepreneurs, opera singers; from many different spiritual and religious afﬁliations; and from the rainbow spectrum of sexual orientations: straight, gay, lesbian, bi, still-experimentingand-as-yet-undecided. It is the variety of styles and voices of the con-
YOU Are the Message! | 9
tributors that so richly ﬂavors this book, just as their searing candor and disarming disclosures spice it with humanity and dignity. Most of the contributors had never written anything for publication before. For a few, English is their second language. With utmost editorial restraint, I tried to not modulate anyone’s voice or moderate their story. I cared less for literary and grammatical perfection, preferring to retain the rhythm and syntax of their “speaking.” Each contributor had ﬁnal approval of their essay. Preceding each essay is a brief biographical proﬁle of the author, which they wrote, followed in most cases by their contact email address and website. After each essay, I wrote a Commentary, to expand upon an experience, principle, or idea from the preceding essay. My Commentaries reﬂect many of the themes I discuss with people in workshops, having to do with public speaking, self-expression, freedom, integrity, authenticity, joy, humor, fearlessness, conﬁdence, tenderness, and passion. I do not intend these Commentaries to be a precisely prescriptive “how to” manual, a one-size ﬁts all recipe. World-renowned master chef Julia Child taught, “You don’t need recipes. You only need principles of cooking. If you need recipes, you’ll never be a chef.” In the same way, you can’t become a credible, inspiring, compelling public speaker by following a recipe, imitating someone else, raising your hand just so when you say just this, or moving along a set of marks on a stage. Being such a speaker is not a matter of content or technique or rote behaviors or scripted actions. It is a matter of authenticity, courage, and spirit. It is a matter of energy and intimacy, of vulnerability and connection. It’s a matter of experimenting, of ﬁnding your own voice and style, of being willing to meet people without a hiding mask, without a disguising role. In RealTime Speaking, we learn to free up and let loose our inner shakti, our life-force, our inexhaustible reservoir of expressive power and potential! We learn to reclaim our inherent power to speak with courage and clarity, with conﬁdence and connection. Public speaking is about presence, authenticity, integrity, and connection. These ideas must be alive and wild within you; they must
10 | RealTime Speaking
be your own roar of life. That’s what I mean when I say: YOU are the message! For this, you need your own authentic voice, your full spirit, a willingness to truly connect with yourself and others. Yes, there are some additional things to learn, especially in how to create structure and content for clear and compelling talks. Yes, there are certain behaviors that communicate more signal than noise, and make us more immediately credible and believable. Yes, we can practice certain ways of connecting with an audience, of speaking clearly and intelligibly, of being comfortable with silence. Some of these themes, and others, are touched on and talked about in this book. I have included some exercises from my workshop notebooks for you to play with. I trust you will receive some beneﬁt from working with these. However, I do not think for a moment, nor should you, that this book can take the place of the real-time transmissions and transformations that occur in the workshops and coaching sessions. Those meetings are all alive, with big crashes and epiphanies and breakthroughs and quantum leaps in capacity to speak beautifully and authentically and brilliantly. What this book can not replicate is a living relationship and authentic connection — and the spontaneity and simultaneity of our real-time speaking and listening, of our playing and laughing. Public speaking, as I teach it, is the discovery and expression of one’s true life and voice, admittedly a dangerous proposition! An early reader of the manuscript called me with a caution, “Robert, don’t you want to cut out all the references people write about you? Readers might think you’re conceited and full of yourself.” No, I don’t want to edit out these references, thank you very much. This book tells the stories of people claiming their full powers of self-expression, of how they’re making new and wondrous lives for themselves because they are willing to speak their truth, make authentic connections, and live out loud. As it happens, one of the commonalities of this community of contributors is their participation in a RealTime Speaking program. In this, they share a common chrysalis of learning and transformation. Another is their relationship with me, and of my impact on them. I do not think I am conceited or full of myself by allow-
YOU Are the Message! | 11
ing them their story. I am pleased and proud to read of the ways I have been able to contribute to their lives. I am equally grateful to them for their contributions to mine. Why in the world should I be embarrassed to accept and announce their appreciation and gratitude? Why would I want to mute them, or myself, or you? We’ve had our ﬁnger on the mute button of our heartfelt thoughts and feelings long enough. Time to live out loud. (On this matter of conceit and arrogance, I have from time to time been accused of manifesting these qualities, and, since moving to Australia, of being cheeky, super cheeky, and beyond cheeky. Of course, I am always shocked senseless when I hear these comments! Moi?) The stories in this book are unique and universal, each one describing, in 300 words or 2,000, a hero’s journey to a place of self-blessing and re-enchantment, to a place of power and passion, tenderness and tears. In these pages, the speakers strip away their masks and roles, often revealing things aloud and publicly for the ﬁrst time ever, strengthened by a new conﬁdence to claim their rightful place in life, to stand and speak with dignity and honor, to embody the vast ﬂows of life-force which move through each of us, animating and enlivening our precious few moments, beautifying creation with our truthful voice, a unique song which must be expressed without fear, shame, or embarrassment! It is now my pleasure to invite you to turn the page, and begin your own hero’s journey to self-blessing. May you ﬁnd inspiration and guidance in these pages to experience the fullness of your own inner beauty and the courage and conﬁdence to express what only you can express: YOU. RealTime Speaking: YOU are the message!
12 | RealTime Speaking