RingmasterI often get asked for tips on public speaking.  Often, people think there is some kind of science or formula to being on stage.  But the truth to being a successful public speaker is much simpler than that.

Listen very carefully . . ..

. . . All you need to do is . . . .

Be yourself.

This means when you are on stage never try to put on an act or mimic or model another person. Instead honour yourself and the values you uphold.

Avoid This Mistake!

One of the biggest mistakes I see new speakers make on stage is when they try to be someone other than themselves.  Public speaking tip number one! Never do this!! Do not try to be someone you are not.  Do not model some polished hotshot American speaker you’ve seen, or try and be some kind of stand up comedian or anything other than your true self

The irony is – when you are your true self – this is when you have the most impact!

People really respond to authenticity. Audiences are not dumb – they can spot when someone is putting on an act.  So when someone is true to his or herself on stage people connect to this on much deeper level.

Ask Permission To Be You!

Hiding behind the curtain
For example, if you are a newbie and have some anxiety about public speaking then go ahead and admit to your inexperience as you introduce yourself.  This is a great public speaking tip (especially if you’re afraid of public speaking!) so try to use this in your next presentation.  Just ask permission to be you.
How does this work?

Well, if you’re not confident on stage or you have fear about public speaking – you could ask the audience: “Is it ok if once in a while I have to use my notes?” or “Is it ok once in a while if use my power-point presentation because this is my first time presenting this material.’ Your audience will respect your honesty and will warm to your authentic self far more than if you were to stand on stage and try to blag it.

You Don’t Have To Be Super-Human!

When you admit to your flaws and admit you’re not a super-human, people like that element of truth.  When they trust you . . . they’re far more likely to buy off you too.

Here’s another public speaking tip for you and maybe even more important than the last.  The first person you need to ask permission off is yourself.  Yes, it is acceptable to be you!  Authenticity comes from a place of acceptance and compassion.  It also comes from a place of self-worth.

Is who you are worth sharing with the world?

Authenticity is peeling back the layers of the surface identity to reveal the bright, shining light of YOU.

Thumbs Up

Your Turn

So this week, think about how authentic you are on stage or in your business.  If you’re not as authentic as you think you could be, ask yourself why and what steps you can take toward your own personal and professional authenticity.

10 Responses to “Tips For Public Speaking: How To Be Authentic on Stage”

  1. So true Jo – and nothing wrong with a few colloquialisms. Allows you to communicate so much better.

  2. Very good tip Joanna, we must always be ourselves.As well as people responding to our authenticity, it is more comfortable and relaxing to be ourself when giving a speech.

  3. Jo,

    I completely agree with the main thrust of your article, however…
    If a speaker of ANY experience level uses PowerPoint and tells me it’s their “first time of reading” – I’m afraid I along with most audience members will be disgusted 😉
    It’s surely rather distespectful of an audiences time to turn up that unprepaired?
    What do you think?

  4. Great tips as always, Joey 🙂

    I think its so important to ask permission from the audience, it just makes you look so authentic rather than a know-it-all speaker !

  5. If members of the audience have made time to attend the talk, they’ve likely done so because they feel a connection with the speaker(s).

    So I agree, if you ask for permission from them then you’re strengthening that connection. Then it’s just making sure that you give them content that’s of value!

  6. Would you be willing to email and/or text message me this post daily? Maybe right around 7:45am USA Central Time?

    That would be PERFECT!!!


    Ps. Thank you.

  7. Great article, Joanna. I particularly liked the part reminding that you need give yourself permission to be you first, before asking permission from your audience.
    Thor, the article actually says “first time presenting” not “first time reading”. No matter how many times you read and “present” in preparation (my friend presents anything new she’s prepared to all her teddies lined up on the bed, and the cat) its just not the same as presenting it in public to real people who can speak up and interact with you. I disagree with your comment that an audience would be disgusted if you mention this is the first time you have presented new material, it does not indicate you are ill prepared.

  8. Great reminder of what is so true – BE YOURSELF. If you are true to yourself and your values, are comfortable with, and honest about, your mistakes people will resonate with that. And if they don’t, do you want to be working with them anyway???

    I use my mistakes to demonstrate experiential learning and so use them as teaching tools in workshops – it shows that I am human too – and that I had to learn as well. I believe this creates trust in your audience that you know what you are talking about. It certainly works for me.

    I’ve “Asked Permission” from my audiences on my last two presentations. What a difference it makes! I haven’t actually altered my presentation – just added in “Would it be helpful to you if I explained a little more about….” – but what a difference it makes to the whole vibe. Instead of me just giving them the information (as I previously had) it now feels that they are more connected to the process of receiving it. Most definately deepens the relationship.

  9. Keeyong

    Hey Joanna, I like the short email you sent me, I like this post too, and I like the photo of you with the big smile you uploaded.

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