Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Standing before a group of people and being “authentically you” sounds so simple yet is often hard. It is perceived that public speaking requires us to be polished, perfect, to present at a higher level and almost deliver a faultless performance. After all people are looking at us as a an expert and are forming opinions and making judgements, so we had better be on our best behaviour. But being authentic is less about being perfect and more about being genuine and real. Here are some tips that you can use as a checklist to ensure that you have tapped into your authentic self when public speaking.
1. Authentic speakers are consistent in their behaviour, in what they say and in what they teach.
This means that what you say on stage, what you do before the presentation, and what you do after the presentation and in everyday life must all align and be consistent. Simply you must walk the talk to be seen as authentic.
2. Authentic people tend to have a positive mindset and they focus on positives rather than negatives.
Authentic people do not put other people down or talk negatively about others from the platform. The worst example that I ever saw, was a speaker badmouthing and belittling the speaker that had just spoken before him. Basically, telling the audience that what you just heard was a load of rubbish. Even if you do have an opposing view, do not put people down and come from a positive mindset.
3. Authentic speakers are not afraid to be vulnerable on stage.
They are prepared to share their own weaknesses, failures and mistakes. They share these vulnerabilities from a position of trust, honesty and of sharing knowledge with their audiences. Brene Brown in her TED talk explains the power of vulnerability and it is part of authenticity.
4. Authentic people are quietly confident in an outward way.
They smile they, breathe deeply and they walk in a confident and calm way. This does not mean that they do not have nerves. So when you take the stage be quietly confident, stand confidently and smile.
5. Authentic people focus on the audience and serving the people in the room.
They do not focus on themselves or big note themselves. Authentic people have a purpose of helping and assisting their audiences to move forward in their lives. This means that you are clear on your message and your purpose and your focus is on helping your audience.
Authenticity is an important trait when public speaking. Audiences can pick a fake, a salesperson and an inauthentic person a mile away. Authenticity allows you to be the real you and to relax and present with your nerves and your imperfections. After all authenticity is about serving your audience.
If you want to learn more about public speaking, I am running the following workshops in Bendigo and Brisbane: