Presentation Tips: Finding Your Authentic Connection

One of my favorite topics as a communications leader is learning how to be authentic. It seems like a contradiction. How can you force yourself to be more natural? It’s often a challenge, but not impossible.

Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, is known through her TED Talk of coining the phrase, "Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it." Her point is anyone committed to being a better public speaker can do the simple things like stand straight and speak up. But, it’s the uncommon thing — engraining those behaviors into who you are — when things really start to get interesting.

Your message should always be about who is doing the speaking, not just how it’s being said. How can you draw on your passion? What values do you cherish? And as Cuddy suggests, how can you be the most compelling version of yourself (fake it) while staying true to who you are (until you become it)?

It doesn’t matter if you are presenting your life’s work at a TED Talk or listing quarterly earnings, the really good speakers — the ones who lead meetings you like going to — make you feel their interest and passion through the energy they give off.

They can do this because they found an authentic connection with the material and are sharing that enthusiasm. This is the kind of speaker we should all strive to be.

This idea is reflected is the words of Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."

I hope to see you there!

On February 27, 2018, David Marino will present a workshop on using improv techniques to create a better customer service program.

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