Fake it … Till You Make It? The Art of Being Authentic on the Speaking Stage
“It is quite uncomfortable to change my natural voice or energy” You may have had these thoughts before in your mind as you try to challenge yourself in your public speaking journey. As you receive feedback upon feedback on your presentation delivery, you start to wonder if the eventual communicator you become represents your authentic self? As the philosophical question goes: if I change as a communicator on stage, do I change as a person?
Don’t worry! Today’s article is not going to be a heavy, philosophical piece. Instead, we wanted to look into the common question of how a communicator creates authenticity on stage. The quality of being authentic is defined (from Dictionary.com) as, among others:
“representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”
There are many aspects to representing your true ‘self’ on stage, but the line between pretending to be someone else and your ‘self’ can be quite thin. For example, what if your conversational style is subdued, but you are hyper-energetic on stage? Our learners often worry about how they can balance both roles while striving to be a confident communicator.
In this article, we will share our thoughts on what it means to be authentic on stage!
Your Speaking Persona
To start, there is an inevitable difference between your speaking persona and your day-to-day persona. The different objectives, settings, or context justifies a change in how you present yourself. For example, your conversational speech style will be out of place for a stage presentation before a large audience. The former may be more casual and relaxed, while the latter will require a higher energy profile.
With that divide, what is your speaking persona? Your speaking persona must be in line with your ‘self’. Simply stated, you should present a speaking persona that you are comfortable with. For example, if your natural vocal pitch is in the higher range, artificially lowering your pitch to sound more authoritative may be ineffective. Worse still, you may end up distracted on stage in trying to achieve the desired pitch! Instead, when picking out the non-verbal communication habits for your speaking persona, choose those you are comfortable with.
What is Your Speaking Mindset?
The best speeches or presentations often nail the three core elements – content, delivery, and mindset. The content aspect deals with your subject-matter expertise. It can be the stories you are telling, the information you are discussing, or the opinions you are sharing. The delivery aspect is akin to the vessel that carries the content. In short, if the content is the what, the delivery aspect is the how. This covers your non-verbal communication habits, such as body language and vocal variety.
The mindset aspect is relevant to our discussion today. This concerns why you are delivering your topic on stage. When your content and delivery is aligned with and driven by your purpose on stage, you can present your true speaking ‘self’. For example, think of that routine, technical presentation you have given time and time again (e.g., the audit, finance report). It is difficult to feel motivated to present these presentations but re-visiting your why, or your mindset may help you refresh your speaking energy.
Refresh Your Mindset: Match Your Delivery & Content to Your Goal
To start refreshing your mindset and delivering your presentation with authenticity, start by re-visiting your content. Ask yourself: am I presenting the full value to my audience? There are various methods to revamp your content – one example is rearranging your content in a new structure, instead of starting with boring, technical details, open with a reflective or thought-provoking discussion point.
Next, move to your delivery aspect. If you have not thought about how you are delivering your content before this, perhaps it is time to refresh your speaking persona. Try a new body language or vocal variety technique that you are comfortable with! For example, if the context involves a stand-up, small-room setting, explore using the stage to inject energy into your delivery. Match this with the content you are delivering, and you can project authenticity in your speech!
Deliver Your Authentic Self!
As the saying goes, a great presentation is a great conversation. We enjoy our conversations because they are pathways to finding out more about our conversation partners. Likewise, our presentations can be the same platform to project authenticity in your interaction with the audience. For your next speech or presentation, why not take that few minutes to look through your preparation and present your authentic self?
WATCH our YouTube video on: “How To Be Charismatic Without Sounding Fake & Unnatural | Public Speaking Tip”
By The Way…
If you are keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our public speaking/ presentation skills course for adults and public speaking course for children below!
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Feel free to reach out to us to curate your own public speaking corporate training programme for your team, company, or organization! Let us help you develop them into highly effective public speakers at work, empowered with effective presentation skills & storytelling skills – them giving speeches with charisma, influence and impact is something you can look forward to!
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