If I could only share one thing with you that I believe is the game-changer for every speaker, teacher and communicator, this is it. Today, I’m sharing my best tip for public speaking.
This one thing makes all the difference for the speaker AND the audience. It makes everything better for everyone involved. The message is lighter; the content flows more easily.
No matter what kind of message you share, where you’re speaking, if you’re in person or virtual, this is the #1, top advice I’d give you. It’s the ONE thing that will make more difference than anything else. The big kahuna. Numero uno.
Do I have your attention?
First, let me tell you how I learned it. (the hard way…duh)
For years, I’d worked behind the scenes at Women of Faith booking speakers, laying out the program and refining the event content alongside Mary Graham (the incredible, amazing, one-in-a-million Women of Faith president who also hosted the events).
A big decision to split the country and the Women of Faith speaker team into two tours created a brand-new dilemma: Women of Faith needed a 2nd emcee.
Mary saw something in me I’d never have seen in myself, and yours truly was nominated. To say I was nervous is a massive understatement. But I’d spent the last several years watching the master. I’ve never seen an emcee, before or since, who could welcome and host an audience like Mary could. All I needed to do was do what she did, right? Easy peasy.
So I watched hours of footage, took notes, scripted bullet points, bought a cute little outfit and “got my Mary Graham on”. The next weekend, I walked up the stairs and onto the platform to host 6000 ladies at the Women of Faith event in Calgary.
I did alright. I didn’t pass out, fall down or throw up. The audience didn’t boo or throw things. And the whole team was really sweet to me.
I got that first one under my belt without totally mortifying myself and breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe I could do this.
Then, the evaluations came in. At the end of the event, the women were invited to turn in a comment card to share their feedback. Overall, the feedback on the event was positive, as usual. Nothing much about the emcee at all.
Except for one. One sweet lady who shared her input with: “The Mary Graham clone creeps me out.”
Yup. Tis true. And in case I’d missed it in the feedback writeup, my WOF friends made sure I didn’t. I’m surprised I didn’t get a matted and framed copy for my office.
Here’s the deal: It was weird. I was weird. Not intentionally. But I was weird because I was not being myself. I was mimicking someone else. It was a struggle for me, and it clearly was awkward for the audience (or at least that lady).
From that point forward, I took intentional steps to be myself. I still watch and learn from others, studying what they’re doing and why they were doing it. What works to really connect with an audience, to move them and to lead them. But I take everything I see and learn and work to create the Lori Robertson version. Never Lori Robertson in the role of ____ (fill in the blank).
So my #1 piece of advice for any speaker, at any stage and on any stage is this: BE YOURSELF.
Seriously, trying to be someone else is an exercise in futility. It won’t work for you, and it won’t work for your audience.
You do you. And the people you’re meant to serve will be drawn to you like me to donuts. (Hint: a whole lot!) Only you can do YOU. As my coach, Chance Scoggins says, only you can do what only you can do. And (best news ever!), that’s exactly what we need from you! #winwin
Pretty cool, right?
I promise it makes all the difference in the world. For you AND for the people you’re here for.
Post a comment or shoot me an email and let me know what you think. Are you comfortable standing in front of others and being yourself? If you’re not, what’s holding you back?
You got this, girl!
PS If you’re ready to go from dreaming or dabbling and DO this speaker thing–or take what you’re already doing to the next level, I’ve got just the thing for you! I created the SpeakHer Roadmap to lay out the path to paid speaking for women just like you. Best of all–it’s free! Hop over here to grab it and get on the list for speaker tips, training and inspiration right to your inbox.