I like this subject a lot.
Authenticity when presenting is one of my fortés, a key area I focus on when I’m mentoring, holding events, running the FB Live challenge, and of course my retreats. Because most people who want to Present really don’t understand what this looks and feels like. And I get that because for a long time in Film & TV I didn’t either…but my determination to discover it was pretty intense.
So let’s take a deeper look.
I remember waiting to Speak at an event, a Speaker before me said at the very start ‘I’m going to be authentic through this’. Immediately I was worried for him, what he said didn’t make sense to me, because why wouldn’t you be authentic?
If you’re stating you’re going to be authentic, then you’ve already changed to try and be something that you’re not. You’re immediately setting yourself up to be your interpretation, perception or fantasy of what Authenticity means. Another way to look at this would be to say the mask of ‘authentic’ has been placed on.
You see, for me, Authenticity is congruency.
The true essence of you is seen and felt; you’re the same person who is seen off-camera, on-camera, offstage, onstage, totally congruent, no change. When changes occur and we lack congruency, I see there is a sense that Presenters believe they need to be ‘better’ people on stage or camera then they are off it. I find this incredibly fascinating.
When you wake up in the morning, and you look out your window, you haven’t changed who you are, you’re fundamentally still you, right?
You walk out of your room, and you might have a cup of coffee, you have breakfast, brush your teeth and so far you haven’t needed to change who you are, you haven’t needed to wear the mask of your fantasy or perception of who it is you are when drinking a coffee at home is? You haven’t woken up and thought today, I’m going to be really authentic! Because why would you not be?
You brush your teeth; you’re still the same person. You go to a cafe; you go to the grocery store, you go to the gym, whatever it is, that you do, you remain you.. you haven’t needed to wear the masks yet. This, to me, is Authenticity.
So when people get up and talk about Authenticity, what does that mean?
For me, that means the same person that was brushing their teeth, is the same person that is presenting on camera, is the same person who is off stage and driving to their venue to be onstage, is the same person who comes on stage and this is how you present.
Often Authenticity is misinterpreted as sharing or in some cases…the classic overshare:
“I’m going to be authentic and share with you how I’m feeling, share some of my problems, I could share with you something from the heart right now”.
It should all be coming from the heart, anyway. But VALUE…not just ‘sharing’ for the sake of being the caricature of authenticity.
The heart and soul drive you; the mind plots the course.
I want people to see the essence of me; I want people to be able to hear my words have more weight because they have my vibration attached to them. I want people to see and feel me moment to moment as they would if they met me on the street. For me, that is Authenticity.
I see Speakers put themselves under great pressure to say the right thing, to come across as well versed, polished, exciting, bold, smart and other caricatures. It’s exhausting to Present like this and it’s becoming increasingly hard to watch.
When we allow this pressure to suffocate us or change us, or allow the pressure of other people’s expectations or our expectations of ourselves to come into the equation; then in effect, we turn into our perception or fantasy of what a Presenter looks like. We drop back into the saturated level of mediocrity.
Our perception or fantasy of what an authentic presenter looks and sounds like is THE trap that people fall into when Presenting.
If you just are, then it is. Why complicate it.
We have multiple different shades to our personality; the light, the dark and everything in between; we are infinite beings. So when you try and pinpoint a specific shade to ‘be’ in to appear authentic, you’ve already lost.
So this is how I teach, and Authenticity is one of the key things of the style that I’ve created to help people step into this place, without expectations. The expectations that we have forced upon ourselves based on our perception of what an ‘authentic’ presenter looks like.
When you’re about to Speak or press GO LIVE on a Facebook Live, if you allow that energy to speak that you’re sitting in, that’s Authenticity, right? You haven’t tried to change, and show anything other than who you are right now, this is how you were feeling beforehand. If you allow that feeling, that shade of you to influence your topic then, you’re going to get a very different person than what you may be feeling tomorrow, or the next day, or even later on that same day.