Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Being Fake in Front of Your Audience

Some people think that to improve their presentation skills, they have to somehow be fake, or inauthentic. For example, a self-defined shy person sees being confident as being fake, because she doesn't feel confident right now.

Let's say you want to improve your tennis game. You sign up for a class, and learn that you're holding your racket too tightly. Your coach tells you to loosen your grip. So, does that make you a fake tennis player when you assume a new grip that feels a bit awkward at first?

I didn't think so.

A lot of my clients complain when I ask them to stand with their feet spread slightly apart, right under their shoulders. They say it feels awkward and fake. Hmmmm.

There are 2 cures for feeling awkward about your new speaking skills. One is watching yourself on video tape. You can see for yourself how things that feel strange, simply because you're not used to them, look much better. The other solution is getting positive feedback from your audience. But that only happens after you implement an improved technique.

Improving your presentation skills is just like improving the skills of any other activity: working with an expert you learn the tricks to get more powerful and confident. It feels odd at first, and then it's second nature.