Unleashing Your Authentic Voice: The Power of Genuine Connection in Public Speaking
In public speaking, your genuine self is your greatest asset. Don't try to mimic others or put on a facade. Audiences connect with speakers who are real, relatable and sincere. Speak from your heart, share personal stories, and let your passion shine through. Authenticity creates trust, engagement, and a memorable experience for both you and your listeners.
When I initially transitioned from the corporate world and began using public speaking to grow my business, I made a significant error in my approach. Despite my years of studying and teaching communication and public speaking, I struggled to break free from the corporate persona that had been ingrained in me over almost two decades.
Being a corporate representative, especially in the highly regulated fields of finance, insurance and healthcare, I was trained to speak, present and communicate in a very specific way. And while I had mastered that, I had lost myself along the way.
So when I became an entrepreneur, I did what corporate had trained me to do...I stood and delivered in a perfectly polished (and somewhat robotic) manner, leaving all of my communication and public speaking education and training behind.
As a result, I was standing in front of audiences and falling flat. People came, listened and learned, but I wasn't CONNECTING with them. So when the presentation was over, they walked out the door, rarely to be heard from again.
After months of frustration, I came to the realization that the reason my talks weren't connecting was because I wasn't being myself. I'm goofy, awkward, boisterous and, let's face it...a little weird, yet I was presenting myself as this perfectly polished, buttoned up person. Talk about not being authentic!
When I finally let my guard down and said "F-it, I'm just gonna do me," everything changed. I felt liberated and started genuinely connecting with my audience. That led to new customers, additional speaking gigs and a plethora of opportunities opened up to me.
Today, I guide my clients to avoid repeating this same mistake. When they ask for guidance on posture, gestures, vocal delivery, and the like, I encourage them to embrace their natural inclinations. We then refine these innate qualities to allow their authentic selves to shine. This approach enables them to authentically establish rapport and resonate with their audiences, all while effectively conveying their intended messages.
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Shannon Malkin Daniels is a Public Speaking, Communication and Confidence coach, TEDx speaker and and the founder of encaptiv, an audience engagement and conversion platform for in person, virtual and hybrid presentations and events.