Using Archetypal energies in public speaking

Speaking in front of a large public, especially in English if it is not your mother tongue, can be a pretty surreal and disconcerting experience. Recently, I coached a diplomat’s wife who had to make several public speeches in the context of her diplomatic role.

She wrote some wonderful speeches, full of poetry, humor and meaningful messages. As well as refining the English, feeling into the rhythm of the language and using silence, pauses and breathing to give her stability, we talked about the
archetypal energies and how each of us has natural access to one or two but may need to develop and reinforce the other energies. So, what are archetypal energies and how can they be of help in public speaking?

Basically, the standard archetypes are different ways of being in the world. All of them are useful in different situations but we feel naturally more comfortable with some than with others. Working with archetypes is just like trying on different outfits that are more or less appropriate in different settings. When you put on a ball gown, you feel a natural sense of grace and elegance that you don’t feel in your gardening clothes.

The four basic archetypes are the KING/QUEEN energy, the LOVER energy, the WARRIOR energy and the MAGICIAN energy.

The KING/QUEEN energy is about dignity, power of calm presence and quiet, deep confidence. It is the kind of energy that inspires respect and it holds the space with a certain strength.

The LOVER energy has the quality of listening, connecting deeply with others and empathizing. There is an openness and a readiness to see others without judgement and without fearing judgement. It is the energy of trust and human warmth.

The MAGICIAN energy has the quality of playful enthusiasm and creativity. It is mercurial and dances in the moment. It is very charismatic and infectious.

The WARRIOR energy is direct and powerful in its clear determination and non-ambiguity. It is the energy that incites us to action and that gives us courage to stop hesitating, move out of our comfort zone and learn through direct experience.

So, how are these energies relevant to public speaking?

For my diplomat’s wife, it was the queen energy that was most helpful for her to develop. To look out at the audience with a regal calm and to assume her posture of conviction when stepping into the limelight.

As for the lover energy, her natural human warmth and connection with others was an energy that she was familiar with and it was just enough to remind her that she should feel a connection with every individual in the audience and to speak from the heart to the heart of her listeners. She had already experienced the positive response of an audience who could identify with her message and who felt touched by her
authentic sharing of personal anecdotes.

The magician energy is about charisma and humor, the color and creativity in a public speech as well as the style and panache of the speaker. My client had plenty of this and actually enjoyed her public speaking when she could approach
it in a playful way.

She especially enjoyed matching her outfit to the occasion and the tone of her speech!

I once had a client who was a great expert in his field but who was held back from becoming a trainer because he couldn’t contact his own charismatic magician energy and felt that his training would be boring for the participants. He began to develop his magician energy by wearing colorful socks and by inventing silly games to play with his children (which was not too risky!) Gradually he learnt that by being more playful and creative and using his magician energy
more, he was not sacrificing his dignity or professional credibility.

The warrior energy is about just doing it! Remember all those times when doing something was so much easier than worrying about it beforehand, when the fear of doing something was worse than the experience itself. In these situations, when in the thick of action, what personal qualities were your arms in battle against your inner doubt and fear of humiliation? The warrior energy is about shouting out a YES to the experience and to what it can bring, whatever the outcome – success and glory or deep learning and in both cases, a sense of pride in facing up to fear.

So, there you have it, the archetypal energies can be developed every day when an opportunity arises for us to use the energy we feel least comfortable with. Then, when we are up on stage faced with an audience, we can access all four
energies as a powerful resource.

If you would like to put these energies into practice in the safe arena of an English coaching session, contact me for more details.

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