A Toastmaster's Speech : Triggering an Upward Spiral

Longing for a space of reflection and exchange I’ve decided to shift the way I communicate and give blogging a try. What I’m hoping for is not only the possibility of sharing my thoughts and what I’m working on but also getting some echoes, reverberations, and ideas coming back. So I’m starting out with a topic very high on my priority list; relevant to both the corporate and interpersonal realm (because the corporate world is actually made up of individuals!)

I’m labeling this category as ‘The Real and the Raw’ – all issues of primary importance dealing with what we are experiencing and feeling. Monday evening I gave a speech at the BASF Toastmasters Club in Ludwigshafen. I’m happy to say it went well and I had a strong sense that I got my message across. Titled ‘Triggering a positive Upward Spiral’ participants left the room convinced they could contribute positively.

Roses representing appreciation

My intention was to synthesis the intersection of Dr. Martin Seligman’s work on happiness and gratitude with that of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey on giving recognition. My hope was to produce an understanding of the role of gratitude in our lives and demonstrate a simple and effective model to express authentic appreciation. It packs a powerful punch.

Distilled to its essence the process goes something like this:

  1. Direct = coming from I and expressed directly to the recipient
  2. Specific = when you do….
  3. Non-nominative = who are we to tell someone how XXX (substitute kind, generous, etc.) they might be? Very ‘high-posture’, top-down…
  4. Impact = this is the real key – sharing how what the other does benefits me

The message rang true for those participating. I feel it fell on fertile ground meaning many people are ready to step up to sharing authentic appreciation in a way it can be experienced with a positive impact.

This is where Dr. Seligman’s research comes in. Research showing us that sharing our gratitude with others not only makes them feel good, it is one of the strongest actions we can take to make us feel good as well.

Are you up to the challenge of testing the idea? Whether at work or at home, in the corporate world or government service, in schools, associations, or play grounds; what would happen if we all decided to raise the awareness of all that we appreciate, like and admire?