Powerful Speaking for Powerful Women

Tricia Karp

Depending on where you choose to place your attention, it’s highly likely you’re consuming too much junk food (and I don’t mean via the drive thru of your local Maccas).

We’re fed a stodgy diet of fear-filled messages amidst rants and raves in the daily news and on social media. Messages that scream life is getting harder. We’re not safe. We can’t trust people these days. The world is a scary place.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of perpetuating those messages. The news isn’t always good. And, you can be an inspiring leader who offers a new way, a different way, and makes a genuine, positive – and powerful – difference.

Here’s how:

Show us the way out

You can’t sugar coat it. Bad news is bad news. But you can share your vision, know what common ground you share with your audience to create connection, and relay the good news.

What’s the way out? What can be done? How can we do this together?

Go in

What you say needs to matter to you and be meaningful to your audience. You need to connect with how much you care.

Then, you’ll naturally speak with enthusiasm and passion (more on this in the next tip), empathy and sadness, concern and anger – as appropriate.

People who are sharing messages that don’t mean anything to them are in danger of being so disconnected from themselves that their audience feels it, knows it – and doesn’t trust them.

Engage with your meaning before you try to engage others.

Passion wins the day

Passion is underestimated. It’s powerful.

Inspiring leaders are visionary, and passion is something that’s easy for them to access.

When you express yourself passionately, you’re bold, you stand out, and you become memorable. Passion sells you, and what you stand for.

It’s crucial for making a difference.

Tell the truth

Obvious, right? Unfortunately no, not always.

We respect and trust people who tell the truth. We respect and trust people who admit mistakes. We want people to level with us, even though most of us think and feel that rarely happens.

We’re fed up with governments and their opposition counterparts blaming one another for everything that’s gone wrong (aren’t we?).

We want conscious leaders who appear fearless, are vanguards for the greater good of their community. We don’t want blind followers, but leaders (I’m talking about leaders after all) who maintain their integrity, personify loyalty and make tough decisions based on conscience.

Sometimes, that might mean saying sorry.

Be sincere. We trust leaders and forgive them more easily if they admit mistakes and express empathy.

Tell great stories

There are stories only you can tell, and they’re the most powerful tool you have to illustrate and reinforce your messages.

Most of my clients think their stories aren’t very interesting or compelling. They think they need to come up with a cancer cure or fix the drought to be deemed worthy of attention. That’s not true.

A great story can be as simple as talking about a positive customer experience with your company, for example, or the impact of your work on the community, or a mistake you made and how you rectified it (people love learning from the mistakes of others).

To energise and inspire others, choose stories that:

Stories are your greatest tool for connection. Use them freely, heartily and often (like slabs of butter on freshly baked warm bread).

Remember, people are hungry. They long for leaders who inspire them, and whom they can trust.

You can contribute to setting the record straight and turning fear on its head every time you have a message to deliver.

PS Check out these Wise Talks for messages that make a difference (they’re not called Wise Talks for nothing). These talks will show you exactly what I’m talking about. As one of the audience members said, she heard more wisdom that night than she encounters all year.

PPS Would you like to learn how to master all of the above, and create and deliver your own TED-style talk? The action starts September 17, and there are just a handful of spaces left. Find out more and book your space here.

PPPS Want more tips on delivering your message? Check out my book Media Talk.


This is not the age of information. This is not the age of information.

Forget the news, and the radio, and the blurred screen.

This is the time of loaves and fishes.

People are hungry, and one good word is bread for a thousand.

David Whyte