...and please leave your notes at home!
I suspect that we've all been to one of those talks or company presentations, where we leave feeling disengaged, drained and, well, bored! People are fascinating, their stories are inspiring and their ideas can bring value into our lives so why do these dry, corporate presentation styles still exist?
When it comes to careers and business, there can be resistance around sharing personal stories and showing vulnerability. We’ve been conditioned to be ‘professional’ but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ourselves... After all isn’t every employer, client, colleague and consumer also a human being?
If you've been asked to present your latest project to a room full of co-workers or if you're heading up on to stage in the not so distant future, here are my Top 3 Tips on how to take your humanness with you:
1. Play to your strengths
No public speaker is perfect. Not even the professionals, but bringing out your humanness helps the audience to connect with you when you’re on stage. If you are good at storytelling, tell a story. If you have a great sense of humour, use it. This works both ways, if you are not known for being funny, please don’t try to be - You may like someone else’s speaking style but this doesn’t mean that it will work well for you. Know what you’re good at and stick to it!
2. Your voice is as important as your message
Crafting the right message and making certain you are delivering new, fresh, and exciting content to your audience is equally as important as your voice. Spend time focussing on your authentic voice and what makes you unique. Audiences love a personal touch and storytelling is a great way to do this, so look for ways to draw upon and relay insights from your own experience. This will let your message shine through and help it resonate with your audience.
“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. View public speaking as the performance it is
When it comes down to it, public speaking is just a performance, no real difference than when an actor or actress steps onto the stage. If you are having trouble mustering up the confidence you need to speak in public, make sure that you are viewing your speech as the performance that it is.
Think of the last time you dressed up as someone else. Being someone else, even if it’s only for costume or fancy dress party, has a certain liberating feeling and helps you to let your guard down. That same feeling can be applied to your speech if you just put yourself in the right mindset.
If you find it helps, you can pretend to be someone else on stage when you speak; you can pretend to be someone who is more poised and confident— someone who thrives while speaking in public... Just make sure that it’s someone who shares your unique characteristics and personality!