How To: Finding Yourself on Stage

[box type=”note” border=”full” icon=”none”]Today’s guest post is written by Ken & Anna Boynton of Message Glue™ who coach executives and create compelling content to make internal and external messages stick.[/box] You’ve got to give a presentation. It’s not something you look forward to. Maybe you’re feeling some pressure from your superiors, maybe you’re a bit (or very) nervous, or just very busy doing all the other important stuff that’s part of your job.

You’re probably going to do what most of us do. Put it off for as long as possible, throw together some slides (or have your assistant put together some slides), and then “wing it.” Why not? You’ve winged it before and as you recall, it went pretty well.

And then, one day, it doesn’t go well. When that happens, you’ll probably say to yourself, “Next time…I’ll prepare more.” But, when next time comes, you’re going to be too busy…and so the cycle repeats itself, over and over.

Most executives we work with follow this pattern, and very few of them (if any) enjoy speaking onstage. A presentation is the dreaded necessity of your job, and it’s human nature to spend as little time as possible on things we don’t enjoy, and then forget about them quickly thereafter.

Cue the orchestra and release the pigeons as a mellow-voiced announcer says, “What if there was a better way? What if you not only looked forward to presentations, but knocked them out of the park? What if you never again squandered an opportunity to get your message out?”

If you’re like most businesspeople, this is where you reply, “Yeah, right.”

But there is a better way. And you already have the secret ingredient that will make your future presentations more enjoyable for you and your audiences. It’s as simple as…you.

You possess a unique personality. And since the word “unique” gets thrown around a lot in advertising, let’s break it down even further: There’s no one quite like you living on this planet. You have a personality that’s unlike any other, and (drum roll, please), it’s the reason you’re already successful at what you do!

Bring yourself on stage

All you have to do is bring that personality with you when you go onstage. At first, that seems hard, weird and strange. We’ve all been taught that there are right ways and wrong ways to speak in public. The result is that we all try to do what we think we’re supposed to do, rather than trust the part of us that is proven to be an effective communicator. The same instincts that drive you to successful conversations with one or two people, when projected from a stage, can make you a very powerful speaker.

Extroverts already get this. They love to project their personalities in front of other people. But you don’t have to be an extrovert. We’ve seen magic happen with the most withdrawn and timid personalities to the most naturally boisterous and charismatic ones.

So, how do you project your real, unique personality onstage? There’s more to it than just intention.

Tips on presentation websites will say, “It’s important to breathe. It’s important to use your hands properly.” But most of them don’t tell you how.

We believe that projecting your unique personality is a lot more effective than following vague instructions to breathe and where to put your hands. It does take a little more work. It does require more preparation. But in the end, it’s a lot easier than you might think. Just as actors come alive onscreen with a good director, so can you become a powerful speaker with the right coaching. You may even come to enjoy giving presentations.

And, when you bring your real self onstage…and when your audience responds, relates and remembers what you’re saying…you’ll know you just knocked it out of the park. And that kind of magic is repeatable for every presentation you’ll ever give.

stage image credit