Kare Anderson is a powerful public speaker—a surprising accomplishment for someone who grew up with a stutter.

I can personally attest to this power, as a year and a half ago I was in the audience when Kare admitted to a room full of people that she had completely rewritten her speech the night before. She proceeded to deliver the intensely personal story of how she overcame her chronic shyness and stuttering and learned to connect with others. I was touched, moved and inspired.

A few months ago, at the Business Innovation Factory, I was asked to step in for another speaker detained by a hurricane. I would have less than 24 hours to prepare my speech. Normally, I enjoy thoroughly researching my topics and finding little nuggets of unexpected information to flavor my speech. I prefer to practice repeatedly while I’m washing dishes or driving in my car. But there was a need, and despite my terror, and largely due to Kare’s inspiration and example, I agreed to the short preparation timeline. I found myself including a number of personal stories I had never told before. It was intimidating and exhilarating—and I couldn’t have done it without her.

“When you really care deeply about a mission, then you want to have people feel it and see it themselves. It becomes a lot less about you and more about the mission. And ironically, that’s one way to get brave.”

Kare is an Emmy award-winning former journalist for NBC and the Wall Street Journal, as well as the author of Mutuality Matters: How You Can Create More Opportunity Adventure & Friendship With Others, which was inspired by her TED talk “The Web of Humanity: Become an Opportunity Maker.”

She believes passionately that individuals need to connect and make “unexpected allies,” where it’s okay to strongly disagree about some issues but still come to trust one another through shared interests. This mutuality allows us to find and recognize our strengths while interacting with those that have complementary skills. The more we interact and work together, the stronger we all become.

“I believe that behavior is contagious, and that bad behavior is more contagious than good, (noble). And the more you can bring out someone’s noble side and they have a first-hand experience of that, they’re more likely to emulate that.”

Kare inspired me, and I hope she inspires you, too. Listen to Kare’s story above or on iTunes, and scroll down to download the complete transcript of our conversation.

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