Speaking to Inspire

I haven’t written a blog for a while. This is because I have been very busy coaching but also because I have been waiting for inspiration.

What is inspiration? What is it that inspires us and how do we inspire others?


Inspiration in the literal sense is the act of 'breathing into'. However, we also use the word inspiration to mean much more.

To be inspired is used to mean:

To have an idea

To be engaged

To be motivated to act

But these terms do not convey the magic of being inspired. So how can we define that?

What’s certain is that inspiration is a rare animal and an extremely valuable one. With it you can be a great speaker, a great leader - and have a material effect on people, teams and organisations. Which explains why people strive to attain it.

On a technical level, I can say that someone has the potential to inspire others when they have a combination of the right words, strength of feeling, and are able to:

- Manage their breath to create a strong vocal connection with their audience

- Focus on the audience rather than on themselves

- Speak with intention

- Use eye contact, gesture and movement to underline the message

- Craft their messages using words which are thoughtfully chosen

- Structure their message clearly

- Center themselves

I regularly work with executives prior to a key speech or presentation and help them to identify moments which are opportunities for them to inspire others. But the person has also got to have more than just the mechanical tools and techniques. S/he also needs passion, empathy and perhaps, most importantly, they have to care about the people they are talking to and the effect they have on them.

Recently I was working with an executive to help him prepare for some key speaking events. He was delivering a well-written speech but one he had never seen before that day. He began. At the beginning he spoke consciously, thinking about his breath, pitch, inflection, tone - practising the techniques we had worked on in previous sessions. Then something extraordinary happened. Suddenly he was using the techniques subconsciously; I was no longer the coach but rather his audience, his listener, the person he was speaking to - but now from the heart. It was as though his physical presence disappeared as he became the embodiment of the words themselves and I was completely focussed on him. Hanging on to his every word. I was so moved I had to sit down!

When he had finished, we discussed what had happened. He had felt it too. What was it? Simply the sum of the parts? The culmination of several weeks of work? Practice? Yes, yes and yes. Everything came together and created the magic of that moment - the power he had found to inspire.

Inspiration is said to be the act or power of exercising an elevating or stimulating influence upon the intellect. It touches us beyond our reason. It leaves us with a positive feeling.

Inspiration is also said to be ‘the windfall of hardwork and practice.’ It is something we can learn to do.

Businesses are starting to recognise that the ability to inspire is an essential skill in a world of constant change - and its companion, anxiety. They recognise that their leaders will need to inspire to carry people along with them and get the best out of them. It could even make the difference between business success or failure.

Do you want to inspire others? If so, why not explore your potential and find out about our program Speaking to Inspire today.

Contact Simon Cannon on:

+44 (0)208 579 6662