Why being more authentic leads to speaking success
Every time I run a presentation skills workshop I get asked questions like;
- What is the “right” way to present?
- Should I use humour?
- Should I move or stand still?
My answer is always the same. “You have to learn how to be authentic.”
You see I believe that there is no one right style. What is much more important is that the presenter comes across being themselves.
Think about this for a moment. Who are your favourite speakers? Don’t you feel that they are authentic?
Many novice speakers, try to copy people with styles way different to their own and the result is usually disaster. Trying to be something or someone who you are not, it rarely works.
“Be the best version of yourself you can be”
Nervousness is not your authentic self
Despite what you may initially think, you were not born nervous. When you were a baby you weren’t afraid to scream or laugh or cry. You didn’t worry about making a fool of yourself in front of others. Anxiety related to expressing yourself in front of other people is a learned response. We learn to build barriers between who we really are and the outside world and in doing so we forget how to be authentic. This practice is natural, but it can end up holding us back. Thankfully such self-limiting behaviour can be usually be unlearned.
Learning how to authentic means opening up to your audience and revealing some of the facets of your personality that you may have previously learned to keep hidden. Your emotions, your passions, your sense of humour, even your vulnerability.
The bad news is that you have to be ready to take a (small) risk.
The good news is that when you learn how to be authentic, the rewards are massive!
In my experience, being yourself brings huge payoffs in terms of your ability to inspire and influence others. Even more importantly, knowing how to be authentic helps dissolve much of the internal tension and stress that we create when we try to be someone or something we are not.