In his book Be Heard, Lee Glickstein, the founder of transformational speaking, says that the key to connecting with any audience is not knowing how to give to them, but knowing how to receive from them.
He inverts the rules of public speaking by putting presence, authenticity and vulnerability at the core of what makes public speaking remarkable.
His approach is based on the value of developing a relationship with the audience, not of the mechanics of the message. Public speaking is not a performance: it’s a relationship.
When we create a natural disposition towards authenticity and connection we’re creating the basis of a different type of story: a story that drives not only our message but also culture and leadership. Not every story can do that.
The story of Victoria’s Secret is one of a hypersexual woman. Its marketing, branding and PR centre on a body image that 99% of women cannot attain.
The decline of Victoria’s Secret was the decline of a story based on an ideal female body, not a real female body.
However, when you look at the brand’s values you can see that something is not aligned. The company’s values are “the customer rules, passion leads success, inclusion makes us stronger, it matters how we play the game.”
The story that Victoria’s Secret was telling its audience was one of unattainable slender bodies.
Despite signs that women are increasingly disliking brands showcasing unreal female bodies, the brand ignored their views. How were Victoria’s Secret marketing, PR and branding aligned with the values that put the customer and inclusion at the centre of the brand?
The answer is that they weren’t.
Authentic stories align with authentic values. And people want authentic stories.
A story should help people get through the door, but most of all it should give them reasons to stay. When we use stories only to grab attention we’re throwing away our most important asset: connection with people.
In the same way that authentic public speaking is about establishing a relationship with the audience, authentic storytelling is not about performing for the audience; it’s about truly connecting with our customers from a place that is true to ourselves.
You cannot be authentic if you don’t know who you are.