Recently, I watched a few old movies on Turner Classic Movies. One of them stands out because it’s a political campaign film and although it was made in 1947 still has relevance for any public speaker, 66 years later.
The movie is the classic “The Farmer’s Daughter”, starring Loretta Young and Joseph Cotton. It’s about an independent minded Swedish farmer’s daughter who leaves the farm to go to the ‘big’ city and lands a domestic job at the home of a US Senator in Washington DC. Through a series of events, she speaks up at a rally for him. Captivating her audience with her charm and genuine, down to earth, direct speaking style she ends up with a nomination herself!
At one point, in preparation for her campaign, she is surrounded by policy consultants who have her read her speech over and over in a false, over the top oratory style. They actually play it back on a record player and if you’ve never seen one, here’s your chance! The Senator, who’s been eavesdropping on the session, pulls her aside and coaches her to improve her performance.
“Remember why you wanted to run in the first place. Don’t wave your arms and raise your voice. Don’t give an imitation of a bad speech-maker. Just be yourself. That’s why you were asked to run in the first place.”
Whether you're presenting to your group of peers, speaking at a conference or delivering a webinar or podcast, you want to tap into your authentic voice because that’s what resonates with your listeners.
I’ve watched so many speakers adopt a false speaking style based on someone they saw - maybe a Tony Robbins type speaker or any speaker who inspired them. The problem is, if you are adopting a persona, it won’t ring true for your audience. And it’s uncomfortable to watch.
What you want to do instead, is to develop your own Authentic Speaking Style based on who you really are. Not an imitation of someone you think you should be.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t observe excellent speakers and adopt some of their techniques or ways of engaging audiences. In fact, I encourage you to study the best of the best. Where you draw the line is imitating a style which doesn’t suit you. And like any good suit, it has to fit properly to allow you to be comfortable and project confidence and honesty. Also, if you're really being yourself, no one can copy you.
When you are speaking from your truth, your confidence and integrity shine through and the audience gets the feeling that the presenter is comfortable in their own skin and is honestly conveying the essence of who he or she is. Your audience senses this and likes you for it. It’s all about how you come through your message.
Here are few ideas to help you access your Authentic Speaking Style:
1. Speak about what you know.
2. Know your material inside out.
3. Think of having a conversation with your audience rather than giving a performance. Practice by speaking as you normally do.
4. Work on your physical delivery style, making adjustments to suit different venues while maintaining the essence of you.
And then add one more ingredient: Remember why you got into your business in the first place.
In other words, develop your Authentic Speaking Style and tap into your passion for your business and how you can help those you serve. That’s where your real strength lies.
Copyright © 2015 by Ivy Naistadt - All rights reserved