Nina Godiwalla on How to More Effectively Engage and Inspire Groups

In Chapter 8 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "How is Public Speaking Teaching You to More Effectively Engage Audiences?"  She learns the importance of preparation and getting to know her particular audience.  Godiwalla finds mingling with audiences before and after speaking events helps her better tailor her message and connect with her audience.  Ultimately, it helps her leave a more approachable impact the audience can put into action.  Godiwalla is the author of "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street". She is also a public speaker on workplace diversity and founder and CEO of Mindworks, where she teaches mind-based stress reduction techniques to help organizations improve employee wellbeing.  Godiwalla holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth University and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 


Erik Michielsen:  How is public speaking teaching you to more effectively engage an audience?

Nina Godiwalla:  The whole process has been really quite something.  For me, one of the things I’ve done is -- so when I started I would go into an event and I would speak and I would leave and now I usually, when we do events, we try and do cocktail events or something there’s mingling before and after and I think it completely changes the dynamic.  I’m asked to speak to so many different groups of people that sometimes I have to really refresh my memory.  I was asked to speak at a high school.  One day I was speaking to politicians and the next day, I was speaking to high school students and the next day, I was speaking to young professionals. And I don’t just talk about the book and we talk about bigger issues – I mean diversity is one of the larger issues I talk about and I integrate the book into whatever is important to them. 

So the audience engagement is so important to me but it’s also important to me to physically find ways to engage with them so I usually – I take very seriously the time beforehand when I – and when I did the high school event, we did – they took me on a whole high school tour and told me about what their high school represented and how it had evolved and honestly what was so helpful for me is to be into the mind of a high school student.  I don’t see high school students so I loved hearing, you know, this young girl talk about what, you know, her classes and what she does and it was just bringing me back to the reality of this is, you know, this is what her world is and I need that time for connection because it helps me switch into the mind set of what can I deliver here to you all that’s going to be inspiring to you, that’s going to make a difference to you and affect your world in a different way. I usually, I always give out my email and the conversations I get back, it’s just such an iterative process.  I learn a lot from the people that I’m with and hope to you know share something with them as well and that’s – it’s been wonderful and it’s been fun. That parts have been very fun.