198: On Why I'm Bringing More Joy to My Speaking - and You Should Too!

On this week's episode of This Moved Me, neuroscientist Carmen Simon shares her tips for speakers to help them create talks that audiences remember.


There were all kinds of signs pointing me to JOY: a journal that jumped out to me at the craft store; our Christmas card; a talk I heard; my latest Netflix craze watching Marie Kondo “spark joy”… The universe has been laying down little pebbles for me on this one. 

But what does JOY have to do with you - and what does JOY have to do with speaking? 

I think Joy is an essential element of speaking that MOVES people. 

Let’s look at the definition of joy for a moment (from Dictionary.com):

“The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation; the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.”

So many words in there I like! 

  • delight!

  • festive!

  • satisfying

  • keen pleasure

  • elation!

Pretty good - but it’s also lacking something, yes?  

Joy is more than that. 

I was looking online for some meat to add to my thoughts on joy - and honestly much of it was Christian in nature, and spiritual. Though that is not my connection to it, I suppose that makes sense. Theopedia does have a definition that I really like:  “A state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.”

It’s an orientation of the heart. 

An openness, a presence - and a belief that something big is happening RIGHT. NOW. (That’s a powerful speaking mindset right there!)

But let me be clear about something: Joy is not about Happiness. It can’t be. 

It seems to me that joy is something deeper, appreciating life in all its fullness - happiness AND sadness. Joy can exist within it all. When we experience joy fully, we can then experience the sadnesses more fully - and vice versa. As the brilliant Brené says:

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.
— Brené Brown

So when I see a speaker fully embrace joy - they are able to communicate a depth of life experience that is moving, transformative, insightful, essential. They are more able to feel fully the great expanse of life’s experience. They are soaking up the moment they have in front of them.

And most importantly - they are confident, present, vulnerable and courageous enough to express that to their audience.

If we embrace joy as a speaker - we give joy to our audiences.

JOY is something we FEEL. 

Not just ourselves, internally, but the people around us - our audience - can feel it. One of the things we do as speakers - whether we intend it or not - is share our energy. We give off what we are feeling. We share space with our audiences in a profound way. When we take DELIGHT in our audience and bring joy with us on stage - it helps the audience do the same thing. They feel loved, seen, CONNECTED. And that is powerful, transformative - potentially life-changing.

Which is the point, isn’t it? That our presence up in front will DO SOMETHING?

Let’s reach for that this year, shall we? Let’s bring more joy to our audiences.

Joy meaning presence.

Joy meaning confidence.

Joy meaning the appreciation for the fullness of life’s experience.

Joy meaning risk, and joy meaning failure.

Joy meaning love, and joy meaning pain.

Joy meaning connection.

  • Where on earth I’ve been over the last several weeks!

  • A funny story about Sally in high school… oh dear.

  • What JOY has to do with speaking - and why it’s worth the risk.


Sally ZimneyComment