I suggested to Michaela that when she was delivering the most important parts of her presentation, she stand square to the audience.
She pushed back on my suggestion, claiming that it wouldn’t be authentic.
What she really meant is that it didn’t feel natural to her because she had never done it before.
I agree with the concept of being authentic when you’re public speaking.
The trap is that “authenticity” is often used as an excuse for staying in your Comfort Zone.
Your Comfort Zone feels good. Your Comfort Zone feels natural and familiar. It’s easy to confuse being in your Comfort Zone with being authentic precisely because it feels natural and familiar.
But your Comfort Zone and your Authentic Zone are not the same. Your Authentic Zone is much larger. Your Authentic Zone and your Zone.
What is authenticity?
Abraham Maslow developed the idea that we have an inner drive to fulfill our potential – to become self-actualized.
Both the part of your potential that you have fulfilled and that which you have not yet fulfilled are part of the authentic you.
Authenticity is the essence of you.
There are parts of the authentic you that you have never expressed to the world.
There are parts of the authentic you that you don’t yet know even exist.
These parts of the authentic you are waiting for you to discover and explore, and then express to the world. This process will most likely involve risk and discomfort. You will be in your Courage Zone.
How to develop your authentic style as a speaker
Each time you speak, push the envelope of your Comfort Zone.
Experiment with different styles.
Watch other speakers and note what works for you as an audience member.
Be playful with what you choose to express to your audience.
Don’t use authenticity as an excuse to stay in your Comfort Zone. You will be robbing both yourself and your audience.
How to Tame your Fear of Public Speaking
In this video-training series (plus workbook with transcripts) you’ll learn:
- The three things you must know BEFORE you begin to tackle your fear of public speaking
- Why the positive-negative thought classification doesn’t work for fear of public speaking
- The two powerful self-talk tweaks that can make an immediate difference.
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I would like to add to the discussion. I think it’s important to stay authentic in your speech, in the sense that nobody really likes to listen to a robot speaking. After all, if you’re not being yourself (I don’t mean acting disrespectfully), then it’s better if you just read from a piece of paper.
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The trap is that “authenticity” is often used as an excuse for staying in your Comfort Zone. Your Comfort Zone feels good. Your Comfort Zone feels natural and familiar. It’s easy to confuse being in your Comfort Zone with being authentic precisely because it feels natural and familiar.
Thanks for the post! Very interesting thoughts. I agree that sometimes we don’t want to leave our comfort zone and that’s bad. Because the brain needs to create new neural connections in order to work well all its life. To do this, you must sometimes do something that you have not done before. From the banal – to go to a new store for groceries, to new travels and a change of activity.
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