5 things Vulnerability is (and isn’t)
A man walks into a bar … ouch.
Get it? He’s not walking into a bar full of people and alcohol, he walks into an iron bar. It is the only joke I can tell! We all have different views on vulnerability depending on what we have been exposed to. Just like the bar joke, we need to be startled into looking at vulnerability differently. Here are five things that vulnerability isn’t:
- Vulnerability isn’t over-sharing
- Vulnerability isn’t crying all the time
- Vulnerability isn’t using a sad story as emotional blackmail
- Vulnerability isn’t hiding behind the facts
- Vulnerability isn’t keeping a professional front and concealing the human
By contrast, here are five things that vulnerability is:
Vulnerability is turning on your camera and un-muting yourself every time (unless you are asked to mute).
Vulnerability is starting every meeting with a genuine ‘Hello,’ eyes on the camera and a choice to not look at any emails. It is being fully present to the person even if they are clearly not present to you.
Vulnerability is choosing to say something personal that will reveal something about yourself, knowing that it will open up the other person and the conversation. It could be anything from what you had for breakfast to the exhaustion of parenting kids, to the fact you used to be a hand model (yes I really did). Stanford University say that a story is 22 times more memorable than a fact. Stories connect us. But they also expose us and make us face the question, ‘Will people like me?’ It’s much easier to deliver a bullet point.
Vulnerability is sharing a business story with emotion, not bullet points. It is using PowerPoint less and story more. It shows you have skin in the game.
Vulnerability is saving the meeting from slipping into a pit of despair when all energy has gone. How? Play back what the last person said, in 20 seconds, with incredible energy. See it like picking up the baton that has been dropped and running very very fast towards the finish line.
Take a look at those five practical outworkings of vulnerability and choose to focus on one or two of them. Then notice what it does in the room. It reaches through the screen and offers connection. See it as a post-Christmas (when was that again??) gift for your colleagues and practise story-telling technique for you.