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‹ View all articles 1st July 2015

The most epic lie about communication...

Authenticity

There is a big lie that we've all sold ourselves about our communication...

Public Speaking is different than having a conversation. 

Why do you think that is? Perhaps because we've been taught by countless gurus that you have to "do this" or "act like this" or "hold your hands this way" or "powerpoint is king" or... you get the idea. But should we put public speaking in it's very own category of communication? Is there such a thing as "private speaking" (besides talking to yourself, in your own home, when no one else is there)?

If you are talking with even one other person, you are engaging in the act of speaking... PUBLICLY. Why should your communication be different whether you're talking to one person or a room full?

But Sarah (you say)....

This is important – I must make sure I look the part
I just want to get through it without making a fool of myself
I must make sure I know everything about my subject
I can’t let them think I’m frivolous / frothy / lacking in substance
The boss is coming… so it has to be serious
Where’s my Powerpoint? That will make me look professional
 

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.If we think about the purpose of a presentation, it’s that the audience gets a message from you. They want to learn, to understand, to experience something as a result of you having spoken.

Fitting in with everyone else by sticking to the usual format of, “Here is my bullet pointed numbered and outlined in red presentation” without emotional connection or voice inflection, or any personality whatsoever actually has the opposite effect – it makes it more difficult to learn from a speaker. Our memory latches onto things that:

  • Emotionally resonant with us 
  • Are unique or memorable in some way.

It’s actually unprofessional to keep the audience at a distance by presenting a cold, calculated speech as it doesn’t allow the audience to connect with you and ultimately your message. So to be a true presentation pro, we want to see your emotion and something from you that makes your material stick out. 

Prepare to be yourself! 

We can spend all the time in the world worrying about speaking; Am I wearing the right clothing? Do I have all my stuff here? What will the audience think of me? Endless questions might worry you about your presentation but what you really need to be focused on is just spending a few moments getting back to yourself.

Connect to yourself by finding a method to break the distance between yourself and your speaking and the nerves that you feel. You might like to head outside for a few moments or even go to the loo; find a place that is a little bit quiet and do a short breathing exercise. Focus in on your breath as well as your intentions for your speaking.

  • What qualities would you like to display as a speaker?
  • What benefit would you like to give to your audience? 

Doing this allows you to be grounded and to start your speech as yourself, rather than starting from a place of panic or self doubt.

Authenticity is KEY!

We can sometimes struggle to appreciate our own capacity to influence. That’s because we see our own nerves and self doubts from the inside (which is messy) – and we see everyone else’s confidence and great performance from the outside (which of course looks oh, so impressive). Whilst we separate ourselves from ‘those who can’, we won’t allow ourselves to shine as authentic, inspiring speakers.
Isn't it about time that you stop "giving a speech"? Isn't it time to become relaxed, uninhibited, and genuine? The most effective speakers don’t change. They may ratchet their voice up a notch and use bigger gestures on stage, but they always ring with authenticity.

More information on how to be the authentic speaker you were meant to be? 

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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