Man speaking to a business group

Are You Being Authentic?

When you speak, your listeners will have their radar up looking to see if you are for real and to determine whether they can trust you are not. Regardless of what you are presenting, they want to be impressed and inspired by YOU. Are you afraid to be seen? Are you hiding behind your words?

To reach others in a truly memorable and meaningful way, you need to be authentic. The challenge is clear…be yourself.

Robert Rabin of RealTime Speaking writes about authentic self expression and states that the speaker needs to “use their verbal and nonverbal speaking to reveal, rather than conceal, their true intent, their true motives, purpose, and goals. We are looking, and sensing, if the speaker is telling the truth – of who they are.” He continues…

You are More Powerful Than Your Message

Your credibility must come from YOU, not from your message. Only when you have shown yourself fully and openly will people begin to listen with their full attention and be open to having you influence them. Only when you have stood before people without hiding, without pretense, without posturing of any kind, will people open themselves to you and your message. That is when real communication begins, not before.

Building Your Business Takes More Than Technique

In seeking to develop and build your own business, you may have been taught to leverage people’s fears of remaining stuck, of being like their parents, of being consumed by scarcity and poverty. You may have learned communication “techniques” to help you embed your message in the subconscious minds of your audience members, or to give your message more impact and oomph. Those techniques only keep you from doing the one thing that is guaranteed to inspire, move, and impress your audience. You may have learned marketing strategies, sales techniques, pretty packaging – these won’t really help you build your business.

YOU are the message! Forget the techniques and strategies and just get real.

Are you willing to do that? In practical, behavioral terms, what does this mean? The American actor James Cagney was once asked by a novice actor for advice. Mr. Cagney put all his acting chops and wisdom into his response, “You walk in the room, plant your feet, look me in the eye, and tell the truth.”

Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Being You

I realized that I had imprisoned myself in the idea of freedom, the idea of authenticity. But to really be free, to speak authentically, well, that was a different matter. The fear of consequences had stopped me. The fear of criticism had stopped me. The fear of judgments had stopped me. But I saw that these were all imaginary, that it was really my own decision that kept me from living a free and authentic life, from speaking the truth and showing myself without hiding.

What might happen if we are truly seen, without our masks and roles and ideologies and sales pitches and lofty promises?

We would be seen. And somewhere down deep we are afraid that if we are seen, we will be criticized and judged as “not being good enough.”

This is why there is so much hiding, because we are afraid of truly being seen. We are afraid that we will not measure up, that in our essence we are simply no good. It is an existential fear of being inadequate.

Try This Exercise in Front of a Group

You don’t think so? Well, try this. I do this exercise in all my public speaking and authentic self-expression workshops and it is a challenge for everyone, even experienced polished presenters…

Next time you have an opportunity or sales meeting, stand up, without speaking, and simply make eye contact with everyone in the room. See the audience members. Let them see you. This is the relationship of authenticity that is the prerequisite for true communication: see and be seen.

Speaking is a contact sport, you have to touch and be touched.

You have to create a connection of intimacy and vulnerability before you speak.

This is where the risk comes in. If you are simply being with people, you risk being seen and you risk receiving the inevitable judgments of others. Will you let a lurking fear of inadequacy prevail and drive you into hiding, or will you declare and announce your wholeness and integrity by standing without flinching in the full view of others? Will you display the courage and confidence to speak from your hearts, to show yourself fully and honestly, to stand transparently before others and say, This is who I am. This is me, and these are my words and they are true.

Your Speaking Power Comes From You

Where does our speaking power come from? It does not come from the quantity of our content, it comes from the quality of our connection! It comes from speaking the truth of our heart, and of putting this truth as a part of our self into others.

When we can do this, when we are no longer afraid to see and be seen, when we stand without pretense or defense, speaking with authenticity and vulnerability, in full and honest connection with others – a kind of miracle happens. We enter a state of grace by virtue of this self-blessing and in so doing we become a blessing to one and all.

This is how you dignify speaking and sanctify relationships. This is how you create credibility and trust. This is how you inspire others to find their own inner greatness, joy and abundance.

This is how you build your business, realize your dreams, inspire others. This is your freedom and your passion. This is your success. YOU become the message.

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Doreen’s Essential Speaking Tip:

Find a safe group such as a Speaking Circle where you can practice standing in front of a group without saying a word. You need to go through that experience of being uncomfortable in front of others and have a new outcome. With a non-judgmental group of people who are all there for the same reason, you can finally expose your fear and not feel the shame or humiliation. In fact, the group is taught how to sense your inner brilliance that radiates even when you don’t speak.

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