A few weeks ago I experienced a revealing moment during a conversation I had with a colleague who is one of the kindest people I know, very experienced in our field, and has a very intriguing life story.

In addition to the fact that my friend has a full depth of knowledge about philosophy and life, he is an amazing speaker.  He can capture the attention of big audiences and relate to the masses in seconds, and at the same time he is also very good at leading small group dialogues by connecting with each person in the room when he speaks.

We had our one-on-one conversation right after a small group discussion that he had led.  I could not hold myself back and asked, “You are such a good speaker.  It seems like you know exactly how to build momentum with a variety of audiences, big and small. Can you please tell with me your secret?”

I expected to hear a few magical, technical steps to take in accelerating a person’s ability to speak to any kind of audience, something that I figured would be related to the right posture and voice tone, eye contact, powerful messaging, and knowing the topic and the audience beforehand.

Instead of that he looked at me with a tear in his eye and said: “Well Vered, it is my broken heart – that is my secret.”

It was such a powerful moment, and it felt like the room sat still. Since I was curious and intrigued by his answer I asked, “Can you please say more?”  And then he said, “I went through so much in my life.  I had to stay resilient while going through different kinds of crises, loved ones’ losses and disappointments. I really went through a lot, and my heart has been broken so many times. I always connect with my broken heart when I speak.”

This conversation made me reflect on the connection between a broken heart, resiliency, and public speaking.  Since I had this conversation, my attention was drawn especially to the following question:  How would you know in advance that you are about to give a good talk on a certain topic?  My answer will be: If your heart was broken because of that topic, you are most probably about to give a very good talk.

Next time , when you are witnessing a great speaker, just think and reflect for a moment on a broken heart.

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