What I was most looking forward to was not being bombarded with the party leaders’ various speeches, non-debates, campaign sound-bites and quite frankly, their completely inauthentic presentation styles.
I’m sure it’s one reason why the pre-election polls are so close – no one party leader has stood out enough to warrant a leap in their support. I do believe that comes down in part to how they present themselves.
Good presentation isn’t about being spun so hard that all the quirky, idiosyncratic and individual traits are worn down and the presentation style becomes homogenised and bland.
Good presentation is about enhancing those quirks and idiosyncrasies because they are unique to you.
It is really really really hard to change something that’s part of who you are. It is even harder to change something you think you shouldn’t do when you are presenting, such as too many hand gestures or saying ‘um’ and ‘er’ or pacing back and forth. Your brain will already be filled with the content of your presentation, wondering what your audience is thinking, wishing it were all over.
To then add extra stuff you think you need to change will only add stress and fill your mind with unnecessary garbage.
I believe it’s why these politicians look so stiff and uncomfortable so much of the time; they have been coached so rigorously that they have to keep buttoned up in case something ‘real’ seeps out.
Being ‘real’, being authentic, being who you genuinely are will all help get rid of that ‘unnecessary garbage’ in your mind so you can focus on what’s important: engaging your audience and getting your message across.
OK, so how do you focus on your authentic self when you might be experiencing any of the following: accelerated heart beat, dry mouth, sweaty palms, shaking knees, butterflies in the stomach and a head that’s buzzing with random, catastrophic thoughts?
Impact Factory’s approach is always to put attention on what already works about you, including some of your unique characteristics, even your eccentricities.
Take some time to identify those things that you either take for granted or those quirks that you think you should change. Also identify what you already do well (a welcoming smile, a listen-to-able voice, an ability to tell a good story). We call those two lists ‘money in the bank’; those attributes you know you can rely upon because they are already a natural part of who you are.
That is how you begin to build an authentic presentation style.
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory