I had a photo shoot yesterday – look out for new images soon – and one part of the day’s events was running a small group Q&A session while I was snapped “in action”.
One client in the group asked me: “Sarah, if there’s one piece of advice you’d give to people wanting to improve their speaking skills, what would it be?”
My answer: “Be yourself, but elevated.”
“Being ourselves” is an ideal foundation – but is often simply not enough when we’re speaking in front of a group. We need to elevate our natural state. Particularly when we’re presenting virtually, where our persona gets flattened and subdued.
For most of my clients this means they need to go bigger – but not for everyone. It’s about turning the dial up or down.
Four examples where ‘being yourself’ can leave you – and your audience – lacking:
- You don’t have enough energy to hold the space for yourself.
- You can’t hold the audiences varied energies. Remember that the audience takes their cue from you – you have to be leader and guide.
- You don’t project well enough vocally.
- Leading from the two above – your natural gesturing style may not be enough to turn you into your own “visual aid”. What I mean by this: when we demonstrate ideas and processes through our gestures, we enhance and layer the experience for our audience.
So we want to be ourselves, but elevated.