Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Are you who you say you are?

Authenticty. It's a word used by a lot of people in the speaking world, but it seems to have a variety of interpretations. I think it's about being clear and honest, and behaving in the same way that you speak about. For example, I believe that one sign of authenticity is using your own stories. Another is being honest about your qualifications and experience. It's also to do with having experience in the field of expertise you talk about. Most importantly, it's about never making a claim to be something that you are not:

Being authentic on stage is very important. You are creating a bond of trust with your audience and taking them on a journey with you. They need to believe that you are a trustworthy guide who will offer them insights and techniques to help them in future. You can demonstrate your authenticity in many ways. Here are a few ideas.

- Conduct your own research and present the results as summaries and case studies

- Show pictures and videos that you have taken to illustrate your message

- Relate your experiences both recently and some years ago, and show how the same point still applies

- Discuss collaborations with fellow experts

- Use your experience to solve problems posed by audience members as questions

- Consider a masterclass-style presentation, working with one or two audience members as a demonstration

- Refer to the work of other experts, and indicate how and why you agree or differ

Finally, make sure that you "walk the talk" offstage as well as on. If your topic is time management, make sure you are never late or in a hurry. If you talk about teamwork, work with a team. If you are a communication expert, keep your messages simple. It's all about authenticity.

No comments: