Since teaching high school English right out of college–with the challenge of engaging teenagers around literature and writing–I have worked hard to respect and prioritize the needs and goals of my audience. What my high school students taught me in those early years was this: I owe my audience content that engages both their head and heart.
I do that best when I speak to the whole person. Not the “kid in my class,” or the “football player on my fiend,” or the “direct report in my team meeting.” Instead, I am to speak to all of who a person is, honoring the different roles, passions, hopes and dreams and challenges and set-backs we all walk around with.
Today, I have spoken to thousands of people, led numerous strategic sessions, spoken in dozens of keynote settings, and delivered training in more than a hundred settings–every time with the goal to connect the message with heads and hearts and the whole person. Isn’t it amazing what a group of teenagers can teach you when you’re willing to learn?