In this “Video From The Vault”, Ty touches on the the power of vulnerability. This is the thing that draws people to you, not your perfectness.

Am I willing to let you see who I really am? Am I willing to let you see my frailties, my humanness? Am I willing to put myself on the line for something I believe in passionately? Powerful speakers who can be vulnerable on the platform, not perfect, not always the hero, not always totally in charge are the ones who are the most powerful. It has been described as “being private in public”.


Let’s look at some examples:

  • The late John McCain

In the 2000 race for the Republican Presidential nomination, the American public embraced this man because he was willing to show them his emotional scars. When he talked about his harrowing experiences as a POW in Vietnam, we listened. We cared. We opened our hearts to him. Likewise, when he spoke with passion about reforming the way politics works in the U.S., many in this country were swept up in his enthusiasm. Especially when they learned that his passion had grown out of his own mistakes.

John McCain was willing to be vulnerable, to bare his soul to the American public. And the American public loved him for it. Many of us, especially the men among us, have been trained to believe that we give away our power when we allow our emotions or our imperfections to show through. “Never let ’em see you sweat” is the macho mantra. That may work on the football field or the battlefield. But it doesn’t work when our sincere goal is effective communication.

We never lose power when we use enthusiasm, emotion, or intensity. 

Certainly when we become vulnerable there is always the possibility of being hurt or taken advantage of. That’s the nature of being vulnerable. But the rewards are so great that good communicators will risk it in order to achieve effective communication.


Who else makes vulnerability work for them?

  • Oprah Winfrey

How about Oprah Winfrey? This woman is never afraid to let us see how moved she is by the guests on her show. When they tell her why they think their adoptive mother is the greatest woman in the world, her eyes fill with tears. In fact, every topic she brings to the show is a refelection of what stirs her spirit, what matters deeply to her. Children battling illness, real people whose everyday actions are heroic, families struggling with trauma and betrayal and loss – Oprah Winfrey tells us what is in her heart every day she broadcasts a show.

The result? She is the most influential and powerful woman in broadcasting today, period.

And the most significant tool in her box is her willingness to open up and give us a glimpse into her heart. Her vulnerability is a cornerstone of her power.


If you’re serious about advancing your skills and making an investment in yourself, we invite you to our Excellence in Speaking Institute. Classes are filling up quickly so don’t delay! Visit this page to read feedback from our graduates about their experience.