Do you know Simon Sinek? I love that guy’s speeches. He has this “Why? How? What?” Theory. First, you have to figure out your “Why?”, then comes the “How?”, and only at the end should you deal with your “what?”. Of course it all starts with finding your cause.
I like the idea, but I don’t think it is that straightforward of a process.
If – and I emphasize the “IF” – you are able to figure out all three, you will realize that the epiphany doesn’t necessarily come one after the other in a timely order.
For me, the epiphany only came in hindsight.
I conduct a research on public speaking. I measure certain parameters of people participating in my training and check which has changed and to what extent. It is a lot bigger venture than I assumed at the beginning. Initially, I thought I would be done by today, but I’ve realized by now that I’m only at say 3/8 of the journey. It is exhausting, it doesn’t pay well and at the end, it might even turn out that it was pointless.
But for this venture, I finally learned my “Why?” “How” and “What?”. And that is what keeps me going.
To find your own “Why?” “How?” “What?”, you have to look at your life from a different aspect.
Here is how it happened to me.
First class on the first day of Hungary’s most respected University.
We walked into a huge room. Almost 500 students taking their seats. All wannabe Electrical Engineers.
We just graduated from high school, craving for every drop of wisdom that would bring us closer to our future self.
The professor walked onto the stage. Our first encounter with a real professor. “He must be smart!” “He must be wealthy!” We thought.
He looked around. Everyone was listening in total silence, waiting to hear the first defining words of our career.
“Studying History, Law or Economics is easy.” He started “You only need a well-trained butt: all you do is sit and memorize… But to become an engineer, you need more than that. You need passion, comprehension and intellect. Without these, you’d better start filling out an application form for historical studies.”
In my mind, I translated these first defining words as the first step to becoming a professional snob.
Thanks to these words and the studies I did during the following years, engineering and me slowly grew apart. By the 3rd year (out of 5 that was planned until graduation) I realized that my profession and I have very little in common. I admit I started to cheat on her. I looked around on what else could be interesting, while I was finishing University and finally, after many years of search, I fell in love with public speaking. In 2010 we started our mutual journey, which transformed me and the people I worked with.
The strangest thing is, no matter how much I loved working in human skills development, after a few years, I started to miss the measurable parameters and the definable end results that were the basis of engineering.
I realized that huge part of my work had no distinct results. I met people a year after working together and asked them what good public speaking development had done to them.
Then I got such answers as “My whole life has changed to the positive” “I am much more confident now” “I use these skills with success both at work and at home”
But in the end, these sentences are not measurable. They are not tangible results. Moreover, from a marketing point of view, they are not enough for an outsider to be able to decide whether it will help them or not.
I don’t say that I couldn’t sleep because of the lack of objective data regarding my work. People loved what I did. However, that small part of my brain, the engineer part wanted to see clearly.
That became my “Why?”: To prove myself and people around me that I have a measurable impact on peoples’ life.
I found my cause. My “Why?”. I just didn’t realize it then. I didn’t start to search for the next step, the “How?” I just knew something was missing from my work.
Then one day, Willy Benkő – who I am working with on Speak Academy – and his psychologist friend started to talk about how to raise the self-confidence level of our country. With this, they had to measure people’s self-confidence level and their changes. Unfortunately, it turned out that self-confidence level could not be measured, but there were ways of measuring frustration level. For this, certain psychological forms were needed to be filled out and vital signs had to be measured.
(Vital signs include: Respiration, pulse, skin, blood pressure and pupils.)
So there it was. The opportunity. The chance to finally support my work on developing people’s skills. I mean, yeah, I could count the “uhms” per minute a client used during a speech and how it changed while attending to my course, but how did it affect their self-confidence, their social and career life? I didn’t know which parameters affect which results. And what if there are more results to it than what meets the eye? What if for instance, the preparation time you put into a speech is in some ways proportional to the rate of persuasion that you reach with that speech? What if there are other aspects that we didn’t think of?
I got thrilled.
Every time I met Willy, I indicated that I also wanted to take part in the conduction of the research. He was working on getting things ready.
I didn’t know too much of the whole process or the tools we were going to use. Everything was going on in the background.
Then finally in the fall of 2016, the time has come. We sat down in a room with 12 people, who were participating Speak Academy’s 12-week course. Huge commitment, lots of data to collect. On top of the committed participants, we also had support from a major mobile service provider that helped us by providing Virtual Reality headsets for the group. One for each person. With this, a more interesting opportunity opened up to measure the effects of VR in Public Speaking development skills.Of
Of course, Willy was wise enough to send the participants down on a virtual roller coaster during the first session, so skeptics would also be promptly stunned by the intense experience with virtual reality. And yes, they were stunned. 🙂
12 people and us. All ready to finally prove that the work we do with public speaking does actually have a fundamental effect on how people function in their everyday life.
To make sure you have time to consume all this information plus have some work done during your workweek, we stop here.
Stay tuned for the next blog post two weeks from today. (3rd October)
Since I don’t want to leave you without a freebie today, I’ve created a freebie that covers the tools that I use during such training. It doesn’t include the tools for measurement for the research, but you can find the specific description about what is the minimum that a public speaking trainer always should have at hand. You can download Tools of the journey below.
Get the Tools of the Journey
Subscribe to get the Tools of the Journey freebie. A list of the minimum tools you need to give a proper public speaking training.