Many of us start out in the speaking business as a result of being inspired by another speaker. For me, for example, it was Anthony Robbins. I thought “One day I’ll be the next Anthony Robbins”… Which often leads us down on a path of non-authenticity, trying to be like someone else.
I’ll be honest, when I gave my first keynotes and workshops, I was so tensed that I forgot everything about Anthony Robbins; but instead I tried to be really “politically correct” and not screw up. I was terrified that I’ll say something wrong, I’ll freeze and forget what I have to say, or make a full of myself in some other manner…
It took me only about 2 years of regular speaking – 2 to 5 times/month – to finally find my voice… and start listening to the pro’s who kept saying “Be authentic! The crowd will sense it if you try to be someone who you are not…” And when I allowed myself to be me, we both had more fun [the audience and I] – my sense of humor came out more naturally and my presentation became more conversational in nature.
Needless to say that as soon as I started stepping in the authentic “me shoes,” suddenly I started getting rebooked by the same organizations.
So as you practice for your next workshop, keynote, or presentation, try to be yourself and knock ’em out!
“One” caveat, though….
– If you tend to be overly humorous and see the funny in everything, tone it down just a ted. Understand that not everyone in your audience enjoys listening to a “commediant.”
– If you tend to be overly detail oriented and speak at a monotonous pace… and the last time you smiled was when your mommy patted you on the back for getting an A, then lighten up. Details are great, but do speed up your presentation pace, AND smile! Smiling is one of the greatest connectors between you and your audience.
* – of course, if your topic is based on information that the audience desperately needs, you’ll do great even without the smile… but be careful not to get lost in way too much details and do spead up your talking speed
These are only two extremes. The key is to read your audience’s reaction to your presentation. And while being authentic is important, it is also as important to learn some presentation skills that will ensure that you keep your audience members engaged… Don’t worry, we’ll talk about some of those skills in later posts.
Let me know what you think – post some comments!
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