Be Unique - Be You
President & CEO at StayUnstoppABLE.com
For years I tried to be somebody else! I saw amazing speakers and tried to emulate them. After all, isn’t copying the best part of flattery?
It seemed like such a good thing to do. I shared their approaches, their stances, their types of slides. It all failed. You see… I wasn’t being me!
Finally, I figured it out – people really did want to hear lil’ ol’ me. Imagine that! It was my stories, my experiences, my approaches that they wanted to hear and see. I became authentic! And you can too!
Be yourself – warts and all! Yes, I talk about my successes and I also talk about my failures. In my UnstoppABLE presentation I talk about burning out three times before I learned how to spot the symptoms. It’s not a pretty picture yet it’s true.
And your audience wants your truth. They want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly from the person who experienced it. That is what allows you to be so helpful because they have similar situations, not the same of course, just similar enough that they can see themselves in you.
You are the one that can help people in your audience change their lives… simply by being your unique self. Are you young, old, middle-aged? Are you successful, hoping to be successful, working towards being successful? Are you healthy, learning to be healthy, supporting someone who is not healthy?
Each of these areas provide possible opportunities for you to help others make adjustments in their lives. So, dig deep into your passions and find the one passion you want to share with others and help the world become a better place, one person at a time.
CHOOSE YOUR PASSION
I know, you have dozens of passions! How do you choose the one passion to share, out of all the ones you have? One way to do this is to explore your passions. Perhaps list what you were most passionate about, somewhat passionate about, sort of passionate about and finally, some interest. Then sit down and start eliminating the areas you are not interested in sharing with others.
In the end you can choose your passion based on the one key area you want to share because you feel it will benefit others. With your passion chosen it is time to move on to the next step.
Now that you know what you need to do initially it’s time to get to work. Develop your presentation.
EXPLORE YOUR EXPERIENCES
You will have so many experiences surrounding this passion. Take the time to begin to jot down your experiences. Some will be big and some will be small. That’s okay! Just bring the memories forward so you will be able to choose the ones that fit your audience.
This is critical. Your experience is important to your audience. However, everything needs to fit the audience in front of you. For instance, if your passion is driving fast cars and your audience is seniors you probably want to leave out your story about over imbibing before you got behind the wheel.
However, if your audience is MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) you may want to share your story from a perspective of what not to do.
Everything needs to be from the perspective of what it is you want the audience to take away. One story can have several ways to be used depending on the approach you want.
Take the time to do some research on your passion. Are there things you have learned over your lifetime that you have forgotten, that you are not quite sure how to express, that you haven’t yet learned? Research allows you to explore content that you may not be familiar with that may help your audience.
Research comes in many forms. Of course, the internet is one of the quickest places to search. Be sure to phrase your terminology in numerous ways so you can find a variety of articles that will help you out of the hundreds of thousands that may pop up.
You can also interview individuals who may provide valuable information you can include in your presentation. The best way to find people to interview is to ou your network. Connect with people you know describing what you are researching and ask for connections to their contacts that might have insights and knowledge to what you are passionate about.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
With your passion forefront in your mind, your experiences noted, your research conducted it is now time to put it all together. Choose an audience you want to deliver to and then create your outline so you know what you will include for that particular audience.
When you look at what you are going to include think about what is authentic to you. Never include anything that is not in your heart – this is different from what is in your brain. Your heart should always trump your intellect!
Your body language is critical to your delivery. Be authentic with this – be sure to approach your presentation based on what you would normally do.
Are you expressive and often use your arms in LARGE projections to get your point across? Then that is what you want to incorporate into your presentation.
Are you more reserved? Do you rarely use your arms to make a point? If that is the case then be authentic and be yourself. You may want to do a little action which will draw the attention of your audience?
Why? Because people want to see you draw them in and part of that is what you do with your body. After all, when we look at the whole communication process over 58% of your impact comes from your body language. That means how you stand, how you move your head, your eye contact, how you move your arms.
To continue on this stance, your voice matters and according to communication studies our tones account for about 35% of the process. You know what I mean… when your mother used that tone, you just knew you were in trouble.
Tones say so much! A tone says, “I’m thrilled, I’m sad, I’m angry!” Your tone says a million things. One really good way to think about this is saying to your pet, “You’re a good boy!” as you would when you are pleased with your animal. Now, say the same words – this time though say it in an annoyed or angry tone.
Your pet isn’t thinking about what the words were that you said. Your pet paid attention to the tone you used. Take the same approach with your audience.
Your tone will say so much! Be sure to consider which tone works best in which area of your presentation. Your audience will be emotionally involved when you use the right tone for the right statement.
Do you want more information about making presentations?
Whenever possible be ready, be organized well ahead of time so you can meet your audience as they arrive. A simple handshake, a smile, eye contact and a few words go a long way to having your audience relating to you even before you stand in front of them.
You don’t want to spend a lot of time talking to one person, you want to meet as many people as you can. You can introduce yourself like this, “Hi, I’m _____, your presenter/speaker/facilitator/trainer today. And what brings you here today?” Or you might ask, “How did you learn about the session today?”
Just ask one question of each person you meet. That keeps the contact short so you can meet as many as possible. Keep moving through the crowd so you can ease your way towards the space you have had set aside for you where you will have those last few moments to gather your wits and prepare for your start.
Authenticity needs to reach your grooming as well. Match your comfort zone to what is appropriate to your audience. You probably don’t want to wear a fairy costume if you are presenting to a group of CEO’s. A suit or a jacket and pants/skirt might be more appropriate.
How do you know? Ask! I once sat in a meeting with a committee where we were planning a program. When I asked about the appropriate dress it was suggested that casual attire would be appropriate. When the Vice President joined us and the staff asked for an opinion, it was the opposite. The VP suggested jackets and pants/skirts. When asked why, the response was, “Because we want them to see you as having the authority and skill to help and support them. You want to show how you have the experience to help.”
One question to always get an answer to is, what colour is the background. You do not want to blend into the background and become one of two things. Inconspicuous because no one can see you or you appear to be a talking head because people cannot see the rest of your body.
Simple thing, and yet it can make a huge difference to your presentation. Imagine this, a client was going to wear a black suit to present in to a group at a Ted Talk presentation. Once the question was asked, the outfit changed – you guessed it, the background was black!
Small tweaks to your authentic self can put you in the right frame for the audience you will appear in front of. No need for major changes, just slight changes to show you are knowledgeable and the right person to be working with this group.
Your job is to help others – that’s why you have chosen to make a presentation. Part of that job is to be the REAL you so others can relate to you and see how your experience can help them with their challenges.
Being you is so much more valuable than trying to be someone you aren’t. Try it – you’ll be amazed how good it feels at your next presentation.
If you want to share your passion with others and help them improve their business or their lives, then now is the time to start. Just make that first contact!
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