Inspiring you to be more grateful each day


[Motivational Speaker] Unlocking Your Potential: The Power of Speaking Up with Confidence

Ever tried speaking but felt like no one was listening? Let me share a story where I learned a crucial lesson.

When I was in my 20s, I was part of a training team for a whole day session at a university. We were informed the audience would be administrators and staff, so we tailored our training for them. To our surprise, the attendees were professors, mostly with Ph.D.s, not the administrative staff we expected.

During my 1.5-hour slot, I scrambled to adjust my examples to better suit the teaching crowd, but connecting with them was challenging.

Reflecting over dinner with the school president and my fellow trainers, we all shared similar feelings of disconnect. We later found out the professors had indicated they wanted to learn “nothing” from the pre-training survey, which partially explained their disengagement.

Still, I learned a very important lesson as a speaker that day:

“It’s not the audience’s job to listen; it’s the speaker’s job to make them WANT to listen.”

Holding the mic doesn’t automatically earn you an audience’s attention. Similarly, being a leader, CEO, or department head doesn’t guarantee your team’s focus during meetings or your keynote speeches at annual events. In today’s world of short attention spans, captivating your audience is essential.

This is why it is very important to learn the art of speaking and capturing your audience’s attention.

Every time I give talks, I pose a fun challenge for myself: That is, to make the audience want to listen to me without telling them to listen to me.

Let me give three recent case studies and examples:

Case Study 1:  900 Executives

I once gave a talk in front of 900 executives seated on round tables, with more than 50% of their backs turned against the stage.

The fun challenge I posed myself was this: Make them want to turn their chairs towards the stage because they would find listening to my talk the most fun and valuable thing to do at that moment, without me telling them to rotate their chairs.

After a few minutes on stage, I could see that the senior executives turned their chairs towards the stage. The plan worked!

Case Study 2: Summit for Trainers

I gave a talk at a whole-day summit for trainers. I arrived about three hours before my talk.

I noticed that a senior trainer seated near the stage was on his laptop while the other trainers were speaking. It’s understandable. He was already a senior trainer and maybe he was there to show his support to the new generation of trainers, rather than to learn from the event.

The fun challenge I posed myself was this: “Make him close his laptop and choose to listen to me without me telling him to close his laptop.

During my talk, I saw him nodding in agreement to what I was saying, then he laughed with the audience. And then he closed his laptop and listened to my talk the entire time! Woohoo!

After my talk, he approached me and said, “You were such a charismatic and inspiring speaker! Your talk captivated me.”

Case Study 3: Asian Institute of Management

As the program director of The Eloquent Leader at the Asian Institute of Management, my fun challenge was to capture the attention of senior managers and C-suite leaders as soon as I started speaking, all the way until the end of the session.

I remember how, during the first session at the AIM Campus, I told the participants that we would start at exactly 1:30 PM and end at exactly 4:59 PM.

I ended the class at 4:59 PM but no one was eager to stand up and prepare to leave. I felt like they still wanted me to say something. I smiled and said, “We’re done for today.” And that’s the only time they stood up.

I’ve observed the same in all the succeeding classes, even those on Zoom.

I’m so grateful for their humility to learn.


“Speaking is more than a skill; it’s an art of engagement.”

Call to ACTION

Regardless of our profession, it is so important to hone our speaking skills.

We get judged by how we talk and present ourselves.

If you’re interested in honing your speaking skills, here are some paths:

– Join Toastmasters! I was an active member for 11 years.

– Enroll in a public speaking course.

– Consider a speaking coach.

– Watch TEDx talks on YouTube. You can find mine by searching “TEDx Sha Nacino.”

What would you like to add?

I wish you fearless possibilities :)

Sha Nacino

Motivational & TEDx Speaker l Author l Adjunct Faculty, Asian Institute of Management

P.S.1 Want to dive deeper into public speaking? Here are two ways I can assist:

1. Check out my Speak to Inspire online course here. Use the code SPEAKTOINSPIRE for a 28% discount until April 30! Limited discount coupons only!

2. I’ve received inquiries from senior managers and C-suite leaders asking if I can do 1-on-1 coaching on public speaking. Please email me at so we can discuss further.

Sha Nacino

Sha Nacino is a motivational speaker, author of 15 books, and adjunct faculty at the Asian Institute of Management. She is on a mission to inspire fearless possibilities by helping leaders and companies build a culture where everyone feels safe, seen, and appreciated.

Sha finished her B.S. in Business Economics from the University of the Philippines - Diliman and holds a Certificate in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

She was awarded the Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 by the United Nations Global Entrepreneur Council and Inspiring Humanitarian Award by the World Humanitarian Drive.

Here are three ways Sha can be of service to you:
1. Connect with her on LinkedIn
2. Join Sha’s “Motivational Speaker’s Insights” email newsletter and download her eBook with a blurb by Brian Tracy here:
3. If you're looking for a speaker for your next event or conference, visit or email us at

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