They say ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’. And in many cases it is. But not when you’re speaking in public.
Too often we imitate the wrong people. We all grow up watching presentations. So we assume that’s the way they should be done. But what happens when we imitate all those other presentations? We sound like everyone else.
We use the same tired opening remarks. We focus on our scripts and concentrate on not mis-reading the essays we worked so hard, in silence, to create. Because we judged the words by how they looked on the page rather than how they sounded, we sometimes stumble over phrases that are simply not conversational. Because we’re concentrating on a ‘clean read’, we often speak faster than usual, we forget to pause, and we neglect to lift the words off the page with emphasis.
And to make matters worse we pack our slides with text, and then repeat what the audience has already read.
We do it because, too often, that’s what we’re exposed to in board rooms and conference rooms, day after day.
The consequence of all this sameness? We never release our authentic speaking voice. We stifle our natural communication skills; we take the life and the passion out of our presentations; and we anaesthetize our audiences.
Today, audiences want to build a relationship with you.They want to know who you are. What makes you tick? Why you’re speaking about your particular topic? The only way you can build that important connection to your audience is by releasing your authentic speaking voice.
‘Just be yourself’ is the mantra of many presentation skills coaches. They’re absolutely right. But saying it and doing it are two different things. We have been so brainwashed by the imitation game that we are afraid to release our true voice.
There is a way to do it: Podium’s TalkitOut Technique. It’s a methodology designed to let you ‘just be yourself’. Check our ‘before and after’ client videos. They all released their authentic speaking voices in one day or less, using Talkitout. And you can, too. The secret is to get the words out of your mouth BEFORE you write them down.
If you want to upgrade your speeches and presentations, TalkitOut can help. You’ll feel much more comfortable; you’ll engage your audience; and you’ll find you get much more buy-in for your message.
Avoid imitations. As Judy Garland once said, ‘always be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.’
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.