Be Authentic

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When last we left, we were digging into our framework for being a powerful speaker. In particular, “Purpose,” or the question of what you want your audience to think, feel, and do.

Today we’ll focus on the second internal factor, “Authenticity.” To be an authentic speaker, you have to speak from your heart. If you aren’t speaking from your heart, you won’t succeed. Your audience will be asking, “Is this the real thing? It doesn’t feel like the real thing.”

Even if you know your topic, you also have to know and reach your audience.

Because even if you’re the most charismatic speaker, if you aren’t authentic, it’s just a pitch… It’s a put on. You’re just a salesman.

If your audience feels that inauthenticity, it will change your relationship with them. The authenticity is a connection. It’s a connection that brings the audience along with you, and makes them forgive you if you stumble.

Something to be mindful of, even if you are speaking from your heart, is that your audience could actually perceive you as being inauthentic.

“But wait!” you might say, “I thought it was as easy as being authentic!”

You might have been, but perception matters. Think carefully about your relationship with the audience. If you are too conscious of them, they can feel that you are being inauthentic. That’s why it’s also important that you strike a balance between being audience dependent and audience independent.

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If you are too dependent on your audience, that means you are too tuned in to their reactions. And when you find yourself focusing so much on the audience, you’ll actually lose your connection with the audience.

If you’re too independent from your audience, you are actually actively blocking them out (imagining the audience in their underwear is an example of this). If you block the audience, you will miss out on important data. If the audience is shifting, you might pick up your pace. If the audience responds with a chuckle, maybe mix a few more funny anecdotes in.

It’s a balancing act, but if you can make your way across the tightrope, you’re sure to win your audience over.

Kelsey Frause
kelsey@zumcom.com

Director, Client Relations | Kelsey@zumcom.com