Being your authentic self on stage is a desire, yet an oxymoron

Authentic : true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character; is sincere and authentic with no pretensions. – Merriam Webster

Oxymoron : something (such as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements. – Merriam Webster

In the process of creating my Authentic Public Speaker course, I did a lot of surveys and interviews with entrepreneurs just like you about what they truly desired in a public speaking course.

By far, the most important thing to them was that they wanted to be authentic.

Woman scratching head

I scratched my head at that.
How could I teach entrepreneurs how to convert their speeches into paying clients if they did not want to change anything?

Then it dawned on me – What they thought they wanted was a magic speech structure that would instantly get them clients at the end of their talk.

From my experience, I knew that what they really needed was a system to help them understand what behaviors were showing up in them that would attract or repel their audience.

Want versus need is always an interesting, mind-blowing discovery.

In order to understand why people wanted to be authentic, I had to dig deep inside myself and find out why I would want that, too.

I asked myself:
Do I want to be my authentic self, too?
What part of me would I keep, and what part did I need to change?
What part of me did I need to find and bring to the stage?
What part of me was I hiding that my audience really wanted to experience?

Because if I had stayed my authentic self, I would have had to quit public speaking and my dream career because I was a terrible presenter.

I had a great structure for my speech. After all, I had paid a lot of money to several well-known trainers to teach me a structure.

But what I didn’t get help with was my stress behaviors that were showing up on stage. Those ugly, dark shadows that lurked in silence and reared their ugly heads whenever I was stressed.

Critical cartoon

Fear, anger, resentment, jealousy, significance, uncertainty, shyness – all the ugliness showed up, all at once, in that slice of a moment whenever I tried to deliver a presentation.

All of this caused me, as well as my fellow speakers, to not be able to remember critical parts of our speeches. We would not be in flow and found ourselves stumbling all over our words. This caused us to feel like we were not the authority and expert, had not right to be in front of these people and made us feel like a fraud.

Not one person in my audiences was interested in learning more, let alone buying from me.

Why would I want to continue to show up on stage from that place?
Behaviors are tricky and predictable. Behaviors that we learned as children are still carried into our adulthood long after we “grow up”.

The good news is, all those negative behaviors were learned – and that means I could unlearn them.

Authentic Public Speaker Online Course Creation Survey

A few years ago…

I was at an event being organized by a dear friend of mine. She was teaching from the stage about her business.
This event was held in a ballroom of a very nice hotel with about 100 people in attendance.
One thing she also does is to invite well-known respected speakers and presenters to share her stage so that they can present to the audience a possible opportunity to work with them.

I always try to go to these types of events to study and learn even more from professional speakers.
There was one particular speaker that I wanted to hear. In the past he had always been dynamic and would present great information. I sat in the front row; I didn’t want to miss a thing.
This time, I was sadly disappointed. His entire 45-minute speech was all about the program he was selling.

Tye Dyed shirtHe showed up wearing an outlandish tie-dyed shirt, with torn designer jeans and a huge decorative necklace. Since he was on a 4-foot riser stage. everyone also noticed his colorful alligator cowboy boots. In another environment his style of dress and appearance would have been appropriate and even admired.

He totally did NOT understand the needs and culture (entrepreneurial business owners) of the audience.
With all of this visual distraction going on, I knew I couldn’t focus on his presentation, and neither could most of the audience.

I sensed that he knew he was not getting in touch with the audience, because after about 10 minutes, he started to act out of significance. You know the type. All they can talk about is themselves and their accomplishments.

After another 15 minutes, his behavior turned to desperation. The audience was not buying his pitch at all.
He became frantic at the end, because when he began asking the audience questions about signing up for his program, all you could hear was crickets.

It got really ugly at this point as he began to point at people in the audience and blatantly tell them they needed to sign up.

With all of this distraction going on, it’s no wonder no one signed up for his program.
It’s too bad; his program was probably very good. I myself am certified in what he was selling, so I knew the value of learning it.

The big problem was that he himself showed up from a place of fear. This stressed him out. His particular behavior that showed up, when he is stressed, is being significant. Then, when that doesn’t work, he gets desperate and frantic and becomes a bully.
Can you see how his childhood patterns showed up on the stage?

It took me over 10 years to get to the point of seeing how my destructive negative human behavior can be onstage.

Why did it take so long? I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
In my ‘off the stage’ real life, I am really magnetic and full of charisma. People tell me that. I make friends easy and have a quirky sense of humor that people enjoy.

But as soon as I go on stage, most of that beautifully authentic behavior disappeared.

Question MarkI began to ask myself different kinds of questions to drill down to the core reasons for this.
The results were so profound that I used those same questions and re-worked them for you.

“What would have to happen for your beautiful authentic behaviors to show up all the time, even when you are stressed?”

‘What do you need to be aware of that causes your stress, that if you eliminated it, that would change everything?”

“What if I got some help from someone who could see who I was at my core?”
“What if that trusted person could see what I was blind to?”
“What if I made some changes (scary) in who I was at my core?”
“What would happen if I showed up as my true authentic “New and Improved” self?”

This was a huge, life-changing, aha moment for me.
Because I had tried to make these changes in my past and thought I had done a pretty good job at it. But, (there’s the but) I struggled with keeping the negative pieces of me off the stage.

I truly wanted to be my authentic self in front of others, yet when I was speaking, people would be repelled by my words and attitude.

What would it be like for you to experience peace in front of your audience?
To be able to deliver your message that would automatically build rapport and have your audience get to know, love and trust you?

Knowing in your heart and soul that you are showing up as your true authentic “New and Improved” self.

How do you do that? You really only have three choices:

1. Reflect on what behaviors are showing up when you are stressed. Journal about them. Meditate. Pray.
Good practices, but could take a long time.
We don’t know what we don’t know.

2. Ask your family, friends, co-workers. Be careful, because these groups of people normally don’t want you to improve, because when you improve, they fear you will either want to change them or leave them.
How do you feel when someone criticizes and places judgments on you? Even when we ask them to do it, we can feel resentment and will reject the well-meaning help.

3. Find a sensitive trained professional that will be able to love you enough to see that you grow. Someone who will be there with you for the long haul and believe in your success more than you do.
Someone who knows how to give proper feedback so that you will be motivated to improve.

By now, you may be seeing that being your authentic self truly is an oxymoron.
When you are stressed, all kinds of negative behaviors will show up.

I’m going to repeat myself here:
What would it be like for you to experience peace in front of your audience?
To be able to deliver your message that would automatically build rapport and have your audience get to know, love and trust you?

Johnnie Speaking To Large Group

Johnnie Speaking

I desperately wanted that and I found a way.
Created a system that I still use personally today every time I get on stage.

I’ve been sharing it with my individual private clients and at local workshops for over 2 years now with amazing results.

Now I want to help even more people. People like you who desire the same thing that I wanted.

As I write this I am in the process of developing my online Authentic Speaker Training program called Speeches that Convert.

Would you like to be part of the launch process?

If you did not have the chance to answer the easy yet comprehensive survey that I created just for you.

Click Here: APS Online Course Creation Survey

As a thank you for helping out you will be one of the first to receive special launch pricing for Speeches that Convert.

Your responses and feedback will help with the development and design of the course so that it is a perfect fit for you and others like you.

Again, Here is the APS Online Course Creation Survey  

Johnnie Urban
Wonderful life Learning Intl.
Authentic Public Speaker

Johnnie Urban

P.S. If you feel that this information has been of value to you I bet you have some entrepreneurial friends or partners who would also love it. Go ahead and foreword it to them.

Top 10 Tips To Be Your Authentic Self On The Stage, Without Blowing It!

I Love Public Speaking – Even Though It Still Scares Me.

Johnnie Speaking To Large Group

Johnnie Urban Speaking

There was a time, not to long ago, that I was deathly afraid of public speaking.

I am the most unlikely person to love public speaking, let alone be a speech coach and mentor.

Johnnie in 3rd gradeAs a child, I had developed a speech impediment where I slurred my ss’s. By the time I was in 3rd grade, it was so bad, the school had me in speech therapy.
I can’t complain; it was a rather fun experience.
I remember a very nice lady (probably a speech therapist) sitting down with me in an empty classroom and playing fun games.

I can remember that these games were easy and were designed for me to speak while retraining my tongue to move to the back of my mouth away from my front teeth.

But what I enjoyed the most was the one-on-one attention I received from someone who deeply cared about me.
Don’t get me wrong; it was hard work, and to this day, the slurring returns when I am tired or talk too fast.

I’m telling you this story because I want you to know that regardless of our many flaws, we can still stand up on a stage, in front of a room of people, or even just talk with one person, and embrace those flaws as being our true authentic selves.

In fact, what your audience wants the most is to be able to see the REAL you. Not the perfected you.

That’s why Facebook Live is so popular and works so well for marketing a business. It is because it is real and raw, not scripted or edited.

Avoid The #1 Rookie Speaker Mistake …

There are people out there who need your products and/or services. They are looking for YOU and only YOU!
You are the only one that has a compelling personal story of why you do what you do.
You are the only one who can tell YOUR story.

You have been given natural talents and abilities.

But public speaking is a learned skill.

And maybe public speaking is not one of your natural talents; but public speaking is the best way to get your message noticed to more people, and it also helps you make a significant income.


Here are my favorite Top 10 Tips To Be Your Authentic Self On The Stage, Without Blowing It!

1. Trust who you are at your core.

It will ground you. When you completely surrender to the idea that you are the expert and authority in your field it gives you the right to be on stage. It completely eliminates the imposter syndrome that many speakers feel.

NEWS FLASH! Unless you are a professional performer-You are not a performer! You are a speaker who has a message that is of value to people. Own that, and you will relax and have fun.

2. Have a structure for your speech.

There are many different types of structures to a speech depending on what the purpose of your speech is. I have found that the easiest structure to follow is where there is a beginning, middle, and an end. Just three parts. This structure works when you’re in the beginning stages of learning, but it also works well as a foundational structure that you will be able to fall back on when you find yourself in an impromptu speaking setting.

3. Love your topic.

Don’t we just love to talk about what we are most interested in? We could talk all day about our favorite sport or the vacation we just took. Believe me when I say this, you will not bore your audience if you are engaging and funny. In fact when you master the art of story telling you will not only be more engaging you will get that all elusive feeling of being brilliant.

4. Commit to be committed.

Something I learned when I took Improv classes. When was the last time you were completely committed to something? Was it on your wedding day? Giving birth to a child? Finding a new Job? When you are fully committed to delivering a powerful, funny and/or informative speech, then you will, no questions asked!

5. Dance with the fear.

Researchers say that public speaking is feared more than death. Even I still get a little nervous, even though I love it so much.

We want people to like us and not throw the proverbial tomato at us.

But what do you think happens when you try to stop something, like stop fearing? It creates a void, doesn’t it? And wherever there is a void, you will find that it won’t stay that way for long. Unless you fill it up with something more powerful and hopefully positive.

What could you easily replace fear with? Next time try excitement.

Next time you fear that tomatoes may be coming at you, just imagine that you are going to catch them, take them home and make a salad.

6. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

A really great statement that has profound positive effects with people who take it on and use it. And, yes, it is the title of a book by author Mike Robbins.

Being your authentic self is a desire yet an oxymoron – read more

When you can deeply understand that you are speaking to an audience that wants to meet the REAL you, it will allow you to relax, have fun, and deliver your amazing message with style and grace.

Today’s audiences want the real you, not some performer that has over-rehearsed a part in a play.

7. Self-deprecating humor.

According to Wikipedia, this is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself, or being excessively modest. It can be used in humor and to release tension.

It can also be a form of humorous sarcasm. Which I find personally find funny. Example: “Dang, you’re all so smart, studying for the test; I’m probably going to fail.” *Says the straight A student.*

Have fun with it, but be careful to not use it too much. Putting yourself down for the sake of humor will not work if you’re fishing for a compliment and will make you look like you have poor self-esteem.

8. Touch people’s heart with stories.

Stories have a way of magically transporting someone to a different place and time. They suspend time and can act as invisible selling. Telling a story in the beginning of your speech will allow people to relax and settle in to listen to what you are going to say in the rest of your speech. Especially if the story is a journey story about you.

Here is a little tip inside the tips: everyone has a hero’s story. You know the one. Where at one time their life was like that, and then something happened that caused them to rise above the awfulness, and here they are today ready to share it with you.

Next time try this. Tell a story about why you do what you do. Your purpose, your BIG WHY. Example: In a nutshell, my big why is all about taking care of and helping people. When I was a child, I was always drawn to people who seemed sad and all alone. No matter where I was – at the grocery store, church, school – I would deeply feel empathy that they were alone and sad. I would go to them and quickly get them to feel valued.

9. Pepper conversations with pieces of your speech.

Share pieces of your speech with anyone and everyone. The more you use it, the more you will remember it and not have to rely on notes. Your speech will then flow like you’re having an engaging conversation with an interested person. The reason I said pepper is because you will just want to use small snippets of your speech sprinkled throughout your conversation to prevent listeners overwhelm.

10. Practice, practice, practice.

There are formulas out there for how much time you should practice, but what I’ve found is that everyone is different. Some people write a speech once and can immediately deliver it. Some people need a lot more time.

It’s best to practice your speech for the purpose of timing it. Most presentations have a time slot. If you go over that time, you will annoy your audience. If you go too much under the time, they may feel cheated.


In my courses I help people understand what there primary learning modality is. Do you prefer visual, auditory or kinesthetic learning?



Visual learners can recall information that is delivered in a visual manner. Pictures, drawings, reading or writing words, pencil/ pen to paper, not typing.



Auditory learners learn easier if they can hear the speech. This is where I suggest they record their practice sessions and listen to them.


Kinesthetic learners learn best if they are able to move around while they are learning.




One of the best reasons to understand learning styles is that when you are speaking, you will learn to be able to speak to all the learning styles in your audience so that they will hear you from their learning preference.


Avoid The #1 Rookie Speaker Mistake …


One more little story:

As I finish here, I am reminded of one more tip.

When we speak to an audience, there will be distractions, guaranteed!

Right now, as I am trying to finish this blog for a deadline, I am being challenged by the noise and interruptions of construction workers out on my porch.

On one hand, I am grateful that the repair work is finally getting done, yet on the other, “Why NOW?!”

Distractions happen. A very real benefit to you is to practice staying on task and focus when it happens. Then when you are on the stage, it will be one more thing you won’t have to stress about when it happens.

These are my all time favorite Top 10 Tips To Be Your Authentic Self On The Stage, Without Blowing It!

Keep in mind that when you can add value, be fun, embrace story telling all while being in a flowing structure you will be sought out as an amazing professional speaker who will not only be invited to speak but will also be asked back and paid well.


By the way, I am in the process of developing my online Authentic Speaker Training program. It will be called Speeches that Convert.

Would you like to be part of the launch process?

I have an easy yet comprehensive survey that I created just for you.

As a thank you for helping out you will be one of the first to receive special launch pricing.

Your responses and feedback will help with the development and design of the course so that it is a perfect fit for you and others like you.

Click HERE for APS Course Creation Survey 


Johnnie Urban CEO

Wonderful life Learning Intl.

Authentic Public Speaker

Johnnie Urban

P.S. Be sure to check out Avoid The #1 Rookie Speaker Mistake

P.S. P.S. If you feel that this information has been of value to you I bet you have some entrepreneurial friends who would also love it. Go ahead and foreword it to them.

I sometimes question my courage.

The courage that is needed to raise a child
is certainly different from what is needed to
get out of bed in the morning. Some of us
have a hard time even doing that at times.

I remember when my children were approaching
driving age and each one told me that they did
not want to learn to drive. I was perplexed
because the minute I turn 15 ½ I couldn’t
wait to get behind the wheel of a car.

But when I asked them why, this is what they said,

“There are a lot of crazy drivers out there and
I don’t want to be out there with them.”

Mind you, they had no problem sitting in the
passenger seat as I drove them everywhere.

I’m thinking, at this point, it’s because they
felt safe from all the crazy drivers as long as
I was doing the driving.
I’ll take that compliment any day.

Most of us will agree that the courage needed
to speak in front of a group of people compared
to, well… almost anything- is completely unique.

There are lots of different reasons for why we are
scared to death of public speaking and all of them are valid.

Yet, if you think about it, don’t we find the courage
to do what we must do to get what we ultimately want?

Your BIG why just needs to be bigger then your fear.

It also can help if someone else is in the drivers seat
until your ready to fly on your own.

Johnnie Urban

More good stuff on: 

PS. All three of my children’s fear of crazy drivers disappeared
when they moved out and needed to transport themselves.

Disclaimer: no words were harmed but punctuation and dangling particles may have taken a hit.

“English is like, totally fun to learn, you know?”
If you take out the words “like,” “totally” and “you know” from that sentence, you’re left with a perfectly understandable sentence:

English is fun to learn.

So what’s the point of all those extra words, then?
Words like “totally” and phrases like “you know” are called filler words, and they’re used, like, literally all the time.
You’ve probably heard lots of filler words being used in conversations or in movies and TV shows. These might not seem useful, but they are actually a pretty important part of the English language, especially in American English.
Filler words can be an English learner’s best friends, if you use them correctly and not too often.

What Are Filler Words?

Filler words are words (and phrases) that are used to fill silence when you’re speaking. They’re words that don’t add any real value to the sentence. They simply keep you going while you come up with the rest of your sentence.
Their actual name is “discourse markers,” but they’re much more commonly known as “filler words.”
You might already use filler words without realizing it. When you can’t think of the right word to use in a sentence, you might say “umm.”

This gives you a break while you think, without an awkward, silent pause.
Since filler words don’t really add any meaning to the sentence, you don’t need to think about using them. This leaves your brain free to think of other things—like the word you’re trying to remember.

Building Confidence

Most beginning speakers are afraid of pauses. They believe their audience will think they are inarticulate if they pause to think of what to say next, so they use filler words to avoid the silence. However, a pause is actually more impressive than a filler word. Listeners know that the speaker is thinking, trying to find the right word.
They respect this. Sometimes a pause can actually improve a speech, as when an actor uses a dramatic pause to rivet the attention of his audience.
A speaker shouldn’t be afraid to pause occasionally during a speech; it shows self-confidence.

Johnnie Urban, author and speaker trainer says,
“I remind myself that I have the floor and that nobody is going to interrupt me,” she also adds, “I tell myself that it’s okay to be silent. When I’m collecting my thoughts, I believe I appear more cerebral and deep in thought if I remain silent for a second or two. I appear to be the wise professor who is about to say something profound. I find that the audience will sit up and pay more attention. I tell myself that what seems like a long pause to me is probably a short pause to those in the audience.”

Brittany Hoff Gill of the Eagle Toastmasters in Eagle, Idaho, believes the way a speaker views the situation also affects the “ah” quotient. “Filler words generally come in when you don’t view the presentation as a conversation,” she says. “This makes you nervous and tense, and then you have a tendency to use filler words.”

 Public Speaking Emotions

Use Filler Words in Moderation

Like with anything else, you could use filler words too much. Overusing filler words (using too many, too often) can make you sound unprofessional. Even worse, it can make it difficult to follow your sentences. So do use filler words when you speak, they actually can add some personality to a bland sentence or statement, but don’t use them too much.

This article is a compilation from several different resources.
15+ Quick English Filler Words You’ll Thank Yourself for Learning by YULIYAGEIKHMAN.
Download the complete article: Available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Toastmaster website CUTTING OUT FILLER WORDS

Johnnie Urban Authentic Public Speaking  and Creator of the Speaker Start-up Kit

16 Public Speaking Declarations, Affirmations and Incantations

There are both positive and negative types of affirmations. I’m sure many of us can remember as a child being told by a teacher, parent or coach that we didn’t have the ability to do something, or we were too fat, clumsy, etc. These unresourceful statements can stay with us in the conscious or unconscious mind, and we then reinforce them throughout our lives.

We say incantations to ourselves all the time. Powerful positive ones will always overpower and eliminate negative self-defeating ones.

Declarations are something you say that is a statement that you believe to be true. When you make a declaration about something it’s like you put your stake in the ground and there is no turning back.

Affirmations can be a powerful tool to help you to change your mood, state of mind and manifest the change you desire in your life.

Incantations are what we say over and over again until they become a part of our unconscious mind. When that happens then it is a part of us and our unconscious mind will automatically accept them and do everything in its power to help you achieve them.

If an unresourceful belief is deeply rooted in our unconscious mind then it has the ability to override a positive affirmation even if we aren’t aware of it. This is why for many people affirmations and incantations don’t seem to work, as their afflicted thought patterns are so strong that it knocks out the effect of the positive statement. So how can we add more muscle to an affirmation and incantation so that it has the power to triumph over our negative thinking? Here are some suggestions on how to make them work for you.


Four Steps to Make Affirmations and Incantations More Effective & Powerful


Step 1: Write out an affirmation on the positive aspect of your self-judgment. You may want to use a thesaurus to find more powerful words to beef up your statement. For example instead of saying, “I’m worthy,” you could say, “I’m remarkable and cherished.” After you have written your affirmation, ask a close friend or a coach to read it to see if they have any suggestions to make it stronger.


Step 2: Turn your affirmation into incantations. Speak the affirmation out loud for about five minutes, three times a day — morning, mid day and evening. An ideal time to do this is when you’re putting on your make up or shaving, so that you can look at yourself in the mirror as you repeat the positive statement. Another option that helps to reinforce the new belief and would be easy to do at work is to write out the affirmation several times in a notebook. Notice over time as you write it if your style of writing changes. This could be a clue as to how your mind embraces the new concept.


Step 3: Anchor the affirmation in your body as you are repeating it by doing something powerfully physical. Do the Super Hero power pose (see photo). Jumping jacks, pushups or if you can go for a walk or even a run.

Step 4: Get a friend or coach to repeat your affirmation to you. As they are saying for example, “you are remarkable and cherished” identify this statement as nurturing messages. If you don’t have someone who you feel comfortable asking then use your reflection in the mirror as the person who is reinforcing the healthy message.


My gift to my fellow speakers

Below you will find 16 powerful declarations that you can easily turn into your own affirmations and even incantations. These are the exact ones that I use for myself.


  1. Speaking is fun!
  2. Speaking is about service!
  3. I am a Master Networker!
  4. Speaking is about leading!
  5. I am a Powerful presenter!
  6. People love to give me money!
  7. Speaking is about connection!
  8. I am the #1 Expert in my field!
  9. My intention is to embrace speaking!
  10. I have important Knowledge to share!
  11. I give amazing value whenever I speak!
  12. I am a Confident, Charismatic speaker!
  13. Speak honestly with integrity and compassion!
  14. People love to buy my products and/or services!
  15. I earn a fortune powerfully speaking my passion!
  16. Speaking is about moving people to take an action!


“I give myself the green light to go ahead, and to joyously embrace the new.” —LOUISE HAY