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You know how some speakers do everything right, but still grate on our nerves, whereas other speakers aren’t technically that good, but completely win us over? The difference between them is their Authenticity.
Authenticity is the roof on the public speaking house and it’s the key to public speaking that truly and deeply impacts the audience. Authenticity is truly being yourself, speaking from your heart – and standing up for something so deeply that inspiration shines out from you. Sounds good, huh? Just think of the difference we could create in the world if we had more speakers like that? Just think if YOU could be like that, instead of hiding the real you!
~ What the world needs now, more than ever, is inspiration. And the most powerful way I’ve found of inspiring others is to stand up and speak from the heart. It’s known in some circles as inspirational speaking. And it’s more powerful than any video, email or tweet could ever be.
What the world TRULY needs now is YOU – the people who think and care – to step out of your comfort zone and become a voice for positive change. It doesn’t matter if you’re scared, many of the most seasoned speakers admit to still being terrified of public speaking. What matters is that you get your message out there.
To do this you must develop the ability to be yourself, even if it is vulnerable and even if it feels in some way ‘inappropriate’. Your authenticity connects to your audience’s humanity and allows them to also be authentic. This is the quality that transforms public speaking from “technically very good” to “WOW”.
Even if a speaker isn’t 100% confident, or doesn’t catch 100% of traditionally ‘good’ speaking technique, they can still inspire by developing authenticity.
Of course a good speaker needs to get the basics right. They should be at choice with how their body, voice and mind behave whilst they’re speaking; they should have a solid sense of empathy with their audience’s needs; their content should be fresh, engaging and well-structured. But all of this can leave you cold without those authentic moments when a speaker talks from the heart.
Take a peek inward. I know, scary stuff. We compare our insides to everything outside. I have to be perfect, act perfect, look perfect, speak... perfectly. It's truly an insurmountable mountain of malarkey we pile upon ourselves. What's wrong with showing up less than perfect? What's the worst thing that could happen? That people will know you're human? That you have bad days too? Maybe, just maybe, that will make others relate to you. Do you like people who paint on a mask? Then why should it be any different for those around YOU?
The real meaning of ‘Professional’ is effective, not stiff and starchy.
Yet when we’re caught up in the turmoil of “what might they think about me?” it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to hide our personalities and look and sound like everyone else.
It’s what I hear every day from clients who worry about whether they’re looking ‘professional enough’ when they’re presenting.
Do you recognise any of these feelings around your own presentations?This is important – I must make sure I look the partI just want to get through it without making a fool of myselfI must make sure I know everything about my subjectI can’t let them think I’m frivolous / frothy / lacking in substanceThe boss is coming… so it has to be seriousWhere’s my Powerpoint? That will make me look professional
1. Allow yourself to be inspired and be aware of how that feels
2. Discover your ‘voice’ as a speaker
3. Be your message
4. Express the ‘real you’ on stage
Now that you know a little bit about authenticity, how authentic is your speaking? Consider these questions:
- To what extent do you change your behaviour? Do you "act as if" or speak in an ultra professional tone?
- How often do you feel like your real self? How much do you emotionally connect with your audience?
- Would you tell an audience if they were disappointing you?
Use the answers to these questions to give yourself a score out of 10 for how authentic your speaking is right now.
If you’re eager to become a more inspiring speaker, Ginger has a multitude of courses just right for you! From freebies to e-courses, books to workshops, jump in to Ginger. Click here for a full list of Ginger courses and resources.
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Authenticity is featured in How to be Brilliant at Public Speaking: Any Audience. Any Situation by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes. Authenticity is the roof on the Public Speaking House – one of the qualities you can develop to become a Brilliant public speaker.
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