- Founder to Thought Leader
- The Authenticity Opener: Get your audience on-side from sentence one!
The Authenticity Opener: Get your audience on-side from sentence one!
How to embrace your quirks, even if they break all the conventional public speaking rules.
We've got enough things to worry about mid-presentation than also stressing about whether our delivery style is 'good enough' for our audiences. If you’re someone who tries to conform to all the conventional public speaking ‘rules,’ try this at the beginning of your next presentation…
We all have presentation quirks. Yet all too often we spend our time trying to suppress them because they don’t fit into the traits that we are told make for great presentations.
A delivery style that makes us both look and feel (even more) awkward when we have to present.
The other day, I came across a lucrative paid speaking opportunity. So I sent it out to a few potentially relevant MicDrop members and one of them came back to me with this…
So I did. But beforehand, I watched the clip and within 6 seconds, they’d used the word ‘wanky’ to describe the term entrepreneur 🤭!
Their attitude is refreshing.
Most of us worry about living up to the expectations of our audience when we present. Instead, why not empower your audience to live up to your own expectations as a presenter?
That’s what this speaker was doing by sending me the message.
This is about making it ok to show up as you.
Empowering your audience to embrace your quirks will help you to:
Feel more comfortable in yourself
Be more present with your audience ✨
Deliver your message with sincerity 💬.
And it works especially well if you’re presenting to a group who are new to you.
The secret to this is to set the tone (and your expectations) from your first sentence. For example, if you’re someone who struggles to convey passion, your next presentation could open like this…
Before we start, a word of warning…
Whilst I love what I do, I’ve been blessed with a delivery style might tell you otherwise!
So know that even if my face doesn't show it, know that my heart's all in!
10 seconds in, any tension in the room will have melted and the whole audience will be on your side.
Perhaps you’re someone who finds that their presentation adrenaline gets the better of you. You could start your presentation like this…
Now, I’ve got a confession to make…
I’m a bit of a nerd, and I get really excited about my work. To make things worse, I’m an Aussie who speaks at lightning speed!
So indulge in my nerdy moments and make an effort to listen fast.
Both examples have three things in common:
The first part of the sentence (delivered with a pause for effect) gets the audience’s attention 🪝.
The self-deprecating humour shows vulnerability and helps you to connect with the audience .
The impetus is on the audience to adapt rather which puts you in a position of strength; as does the fact there is no apology 💪.
The result? Audience goodwill increases 🔥.
To see this technique taken to another level, look no further than legendary activist, Geoffrey Canada opening his TED talk.
Three things to notice from this example:
Within two seconds, he tells the audience he is nervous 😬.
And breaks every conventional public speaking rule in the book in the process! Yet because his tone stays upbeat and he doesn't fish for reassurance, we keep the faith.
He's self-deprecating without giving off a lack of confidence 🤭.
Using his wife as the medium to deliver his traits is a touch of genius. Delivering this as he does in the form of an anecdote is how you can take the authenticity opener from good to great.
He gets permission from the audience to be angry 🤬.
Yet we’re still looking forward to what it is he has to say. Tone is everything.
What this is really about is giving permission to ourselves.
Setting expectations upfront helps us to relax and in turn, unlocks the opportunity for us to present at our very best. Give it a try this week and let me know how you get on.
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