I do a fair amount of public speaking. I think I am pretty decent at it – a skill I have spent years (if not decades) developing, honing and refining. Every once in a while I get asked by someone what my best tips & tricks are for delivering an engaging and compelling keynote, presentation or pitch.
I always answer the same way: First, you need to genuinely connect with who you are and how you show up – and own it!
For me public speaking has a couple of dimensions: There are the craft, the techniques and the tricks of the trade. This is the veneer, the shiny. Then you have the content and flow, which is the structure and scaffolding. And then you have the way you show up – which is the foundation.
Get the foundation wrong, and the rest will fall apart like a house of cards.
The main mistake I see people make is that they are not in touch with their true self and try to emulate someone else; while trying to put their best Steve Jobs/Elon Musk/Tony Robbins game face on, we (the audience) sniff the inauthenticity and disconnect.
Are you a nerd? Awesome. Own it! A skater? Fantastic. Be a skater. A petrolhead? Boy – be yourself.
There is nothing more we, as humans crave in other people than authenticity and honesty. Moreover, evolution has made us exceptionally good at sniffing out fakes – our amygdala quite literally screams “DANGER” when we encounter someone who pretends.