Have you ever listened to someone give a speech or tell a story that just didn’t feel authentic?
It ain’t pretty.
Why would a presenter choose to tell made up stories or deliver information that they just aren’t qualified to give? An example would be if I re-told a story that I heard from someone else but substituted myself as the main character, or if I were to give a speech on nuclear fusion or some other topic I know nothing about.
Not only is it hard to listen to, but it’s more difficult to deliver than an authentic story.
Think how hard it would be to put yourself into the story of another. I imagine that the feelings and emotions would be hard to imitate since I never actually experienced them. Sure, I am sure that it could fool people, some of the time, but the lack of authenticity might just shine through and kill your credibility.
And what about talking about a subject that you know nothing about? You scan some sources, jot down some interesting facts, and then present them as your own. This is tough. Especially if it were on short notice. You just wouldn’t have the time to internalize them well enough to deliver them in a believable way.
Yes, you want to study sources and cite them in order to back up some of your main points, if that’s the sort of talk you are doing. But, you should already know the general topic before deciding to talk about it.
The other day in my Toastmasters club we had a relatively new member get called up to do an impromptu 1-2 minute speech (Table Topics for you Toastmasters junkies).
And you know what? She did a hell of a job.
You wanna know what it was about?
She was up there spilling her guts about the experience that led her to join Toastmasters.
It was about her having to give an impromptu talk in front of several of her industry peers in which she bombed and felt humiliated.
She talked about the choice she had to make right then and there. To either completely avoid those situations in the future, or work on her communication skills.
Obviously she chose to become a better communicator and I’m glad she did because I wouldn’t have had the privilege of hearing her story.
She won best impromptu speech that night as well. And I still remember the story vividly. Mission freakin’ accomplished!
Use your own stories. Use your own experiences, your own knowledge base, your OWN whatever.
Authenticity is the special ingredient that the audience is going to grab hold of and hopefully keep forever.
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