Do you ever struggle to create a natural, effortless connection with your audience? This might be in public speaking or in personal conversations. The basis of creating genuine connections when you speak comes down to one simple rule: it’s not about you.

The following post is an extract from my book, How to be Heard.

It’s not about you

I can generally spot a speaker who is self-absorbed and in the business of seeking approval or affirmation, and I think most other people can too: the speaking feels somehow contrived, artificial, thin, performed. You are there to give something to your listeners or your audience: it might be the growth you can provoke or promote; the joy, inspiration or delight you can inspire; or the new information or perspective you can transmit.

If you are genuinely wishing someone well, your speaking (and your listening) will tend to be in tune, building rapport and creating connection – very different from speaking out of self-interest or desire to manipulate, dominate or even harm, in which circumstance honesty will be compromised, authenticity absent and integrity challenged or destroyed.

If you focus on the gift you are giving to people you genuinely feel kindly toward, they will listen with much more natural attention and warmth.

How to be Heard is available at,, Barnes & Noble, and BAM.

For another simple exercise which will help you build more joyful connections, check out my post Judging and happiness: How to break your blaming habits.