etty Ogiel is an exceptional woman. Born in abject poverty and raised in the hardest war ravaged part of North Eastern Uganda, life never looked promising for her. She went through setback after setback sustained by an insatiable desire to go to school (a luxury for women at that time in that region). She trudged along through many disappointments and odds including near death experiences, an arrest across the border in Kenya as she smuggled illicit brew in order to make money for her fees.
Years later, her dream came to pass when she graduated from Makerere University missing the top honors by half a mark! She got a job and quickly raised her bar before seeking a more promising position in an Oil and Gas company. As she was about her duties, one day she suffered a horrific road accident that nearly took her life. This left her paralyzed, crippled, and dumb. To date, Betty has a speech impairment to contend with. Betty’s greatest desire is to inspire people through speaking! In 2017, she was had a mini tour in America where she addressed several schools, including a UN function. The question though is this: Why do people pay attention to Betty and give her a standing ovation whenever she speaks?
In the previous post, we saw two major reasons why people would want to listen to you. We have said that you do not necessarily have to be a paid speaker for people to take note of you whenever there is an opportunity to speak. In this post, we shall cover the remaining reasons why people would want to listen to you and hold your attention.
Even if your potential does not include speaking, the secret is to fully exploit it. Wangari Maathai was passionate about trees. She faced off with a whole President of a country for years about trees and politics. That’s what mattered to her most. Later on she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 after years in ‘obscurity’. When you fully exploit your potential, at times it sounds and seems irrelevant to the world. Your potential though is not necessarily for relevance to the world right away. Later on, as Steve Jobs said, the world will connect the dots. When you fully exploit it, people would want to listen to you, and when you talk, they will be attentive enough. In fact, when you have fully exploited your potential, there normally is an aura of achievement, confidence, satisfaction and fulfillment that takes away any “stage fright” that you might have.
I know of a friend of mine who daily talks about Small Businesses and Startups. That is his main message. He is always in our faces each day. You know what he is doing? He is building consistency. Recently I started seeing his clout rising in electronic media. He has a show on radio and most recently, a major TV Station had him on Prime time to interview him for his expertise. He never went there seeking airtime, but they came to him. He was consistent and there is a track record of the same. So if you want people to listen to you, be consistent with what you are doing in order to create a track record. This is where you ought to thank God for your obscurity. It is important to keep doing what you are doing even when the cameras are not rolling. Your time will come.
For the most part, the notable thing would be the full exploitation of your potential and pursuit of your purpose. In addition, if you ever shook the hand of the President for example, if you wrote a book or even had a best seller, if you rescued a child or any other notable thing that blessed humanity, you gain permission for people to listen to you. Njeri Waura is reported to have recognized her childhood friend in the streets. He was supposedly a street urchin and looked rugged, in rags and deeply addicted to drugs. She stopped and went out of her way and took care of him for months until he fully recovered. Is it any wonder that major outlets such as BBC are reporting her courage and compassion? You would not be surprised if people wanted to listen to Wanja. Before this event, who cared any bit about her apart from her friends and loved ones? She did something notable, now if I see that she is to address a gathering, I want to listen to her.
People want to listen to experts and authorities. You won’t be an authority in all things. You can only be an expert in one thing. I just came across an interview of departed Ugandan musician Mozey Radio. It turns out that the man is a gifted fine artist. He in fact used his gift as a fine artist to have a door opened for him as a musician. In that interview he says in passing, “You can’t do all things. Select one and focus on it.” As you do so, you refine your authority and become a notable voice in that area. People then want to listen to you because of the wealth of knowledge and intimate experience you have concerning that area of specialization. The good news is that we all can specialize. A warning though: It takes a minimum of 10 years to really build your voice around it.
This came last deliberately because many people give up on their voice because they think that they are not called and gifted to speak. As the previous reasons show, just about anybody can have people want to listen to them. Frankly, each day everyone has on opportunity to speak to people. Now, if we have to speak, we have to speak well. This is where training comes in, especially if you want to be a paid speaker. Take some time and invest it in a speaking course or courses as you keep refining your gifts and talents. At times you have one shot to fame and greatness. Do not mess it up by your unpreparedness.