Elevate your Speech with Generosity, Gratitude & wonder

By Leora Dowling

What do Generosity, Gratitude, and Wonder have to do with public speaking?

A lot, as it turns out.

To me, they are the essential elements that offer lasting fulfillment as a public speaker.

They build one upon the other, too, and they dovetail nicely into my core values as a person, entrepreneur, and coach.

When you stand in front of an audience you have the opportunity to accept a gift. The audience is giving you the most precious thing they have: their time.


You also have an incredible opportunity to respond to their gift by giving them a gift in return.

With gratitude, and out of respect for their time and attention, you can enthusiastically give them
information, inspiration, instructions, stories, wisdom, and laughter. You can acknowledge their generosity by giving generously of yourself–and your time, energy, and experiences.

That focus on the audience–and their expectations and aspirations–is the mindset that shifts everything for me.

It’s also an especially helpful approach for a nervous or neophyte speaker.

Once you begin thinking more about your audience than yourself you can let go of the ego-based fear of being judged that most of us feel. Once you stop worrying about yourself and instead focus on the chance you’ve been given to share something you know with people who want to listen and learn from you, you can relax into the moment and simply give.

It feels good to give.

When your mindset is on giving rather than receiving you are free to enjoy the experience.



How fortunate are we all to have the ability to speak, move, smile, share, and connect with others?

How amazing is it that we can communicate effectively at all, let alone with a room (or auditorium) full of all kinds of people?

How cool is it that people are willing to sit quietly and listen to us, trust us, and maybe even show us appreciation by applauding?

Very cool indeed.

When you exude generosity and gratitude your audience will feel it and respond in all the right ways.

Have gratitude for your life, your voice, and your opportunity to help and change other lives.


Hopefully, you believe as I do that if you can make even one life better by sharing your words you should be grateful for the opportunity. (I suspect if your personal values are things like compassion, community, and courage, that’s exactly how you feel.)

But let’s go beyond that one person in the audience, board room, or breakout session.

As I mentioned earlier, most of us spend too much time wondering what other people are thinking about us. As a speaker, you have the opportunity to wonder about how your words can change lives.

I challenge you to think beyond the moment and wonder about the ripples–about what happens after you’ve stopped talking and your audience has gone back to their daily life.

Here’s a beautiful ripple scenario to consider:

  • A manager delivers an energized and important training in which they introduce you and your colleagues to a more efficient way of getting your jobs done.
    • Because of that speech, you no longer have to stay late to finish things up at work.
    • Your commute home is shorter and less stressful.
    • Getting home earlier (and in a better mood) allows you to have more quality family time.
    • One evening you help your child with their homework.
    • Because it’s a group project, the next day everyone in your child’s group gets a better grade.
    • The result of this is that an insecure classmate feels less afraid of presentations.
    • They do well with their next presentation.
    • A mediocre C-student –someone you don’t even know– becomes a better B student.
    • Proud parents stop worrying so much.
    • They are less stressed at work and kinder to colleagues.
    • And so on and so forth.

Take a moment to see and feel how those ripples the training set in motion spread out in wonderful ways far beyond the conference room.

So many people benefited from one well-planned and well-delivered presentation. One gift became many!

Now, think about the last time you had the opportunity to speak. What ripples might you have set in motion?

Generosity, gratitude, and wonder.

Can you now see how they connect? More importantly, can you feel how they connect? If you can, hooray! I’m happy for you.

Thank you for the gift of your time and attention. I’m grateful you are there. I wonder what you will send rippling through our world from this moment on.

Leora Dowling is Public Speaking Coach, former college professor, writer, and professional speaker. She is based in Chicago, USA.

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Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event MC/ Moderator & Speaker at over 100 events a year. He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities. He has also been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 leader 2020 as well as a Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021. Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind “Speaking Success”. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

1 thought on “Elevate your Speech with Generosity, Gratitude & wonder”

  1. I love the positive vibes in this blog! It definitely came at the right time and am encouraged anew to not be shy to intentionally integrate my own values whenever I get on stage. Thank you Leora!

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