One of the fascinating things about speaking in public is that it reveals so much about who we are as human beings. As I tell my clients and trainees: even as a former actor, I would have to work ferociously hard to hide my true nature when I talk to people about something that really matters to me.
And if I did, all of my focus and concentration would be directed inward instead of where it needs to be—on keeping my audience actively engaged with my critical message.
The problem with being this comfortable with self-exposure occurs when we perceive a speaking situation as something “different” and intimidating. That’s when we become nervous and afraid; and in response, we slip on our presentation masks or don our invisible protective armor.
In other words—we temporarily become someone we really aren’t.
And audiences sense it immediately.
We need to throw away the mask, to let our true self come through for our sake and our listeners’. Doing so leads to a feeling of trust, which boosts credibility, which increases influence, which leads to success as a speaker.
To accomplish all this, we have to remind ourselves to stay completely honest, i.e., vulnerable.
You may think that’s too hard a task to accomplish in front of other professionals, and perhaps complete strangers. But believe me—the opposite is true. Being honest with an audience makes everything easier on both sides.
Hiding from who you really are is much harder work for you and your listeners.