Top 10 Tips To Be Your Authentic Self On The Stage, Without Blowing It!
I Love Public Speaking – Even Though It Still Scares Me.
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
Johnnie Urban CEO
Wonderful life Learning Intl.
Authentic Public Speaker
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.