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[Speaking-Out-Loud May 2019] Natural public speaking - becoming the best of yourself
May 21, 2019

In this Issue

Image: tattered paper mache puppet girl with pink hair. Text: Public speaking turned me into an alien. How to be yourself on stage.

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How to be more than OK about being yourself in front of others

Something strange happens to some people the moment they stand up to speak in front of an audience.

Quick as a flash - kapow, kazazz - a switch is flicked and they're somebody else. That someone has a weird voice - strained and artificial. The words they're using don't sound like their own. The combination of a strange voice and strange words is alien coming out their mouths. And the face? It's stiff.

We're suddenly watching and listening to a life-sized puppet version of the real person. It's odd, surreal and ultimately unreal. Just who is this imposter?

Have you had this experience?

I've been there. Done the puppet alien, for lots of reasons. Principally I was shy, anxious and trying hard not to let it show.

Thankfully I finally learned enough to know when I was speaking in front of others I didn't have to be someone else. I didn't need to assume a persona - a mask. Neither did my voice have to be unaturally 'posh' and my naturally 'dramatic' facial expression and movement did not need to be constrained.

I just needed to be me - my best self.

Who is your best self?

Your best self is your naturally easy self, the state in which you feel good about being who you are.

It's you accepting and owning your strengths, as well as your challenges, and allowing others to see them.

Some people call this being 'naked' on stage. I call it being real, being natural. The word 'naked' pulls up alarming images for me! I'm not so sure I want that and quite frankly neither would my audience! But natural, at ease, being myself - yes. That's good.

So how do we stop this try-hard puppet person taking over and allow our best self to stand in front of others?

How to be natural speaking in front of others

Speaking naturally in front of others takes courage and practice and I want to help you with that.

Here's what I know works:

  • taking you out the equation
    It's not about YOU. It's about the message - your speech. If you've aligned your speech purpose and content with your audience's needs, you're giving them something of value - something they want. Their focus isn't on your tie, the color of your hair, whether you are short, tall, female, male, have a lisp or anything else. It's on what you are delivering.
  • talking as if to a friend
    This will give you natural language and phrasing. You'll stop trying to be someone else and sound more like yourself - authentic, real.
  • giving up trying to please everybody
    You can't. It's unrealistic and very, very stressful to go around attempting to meet everyone's expectations of what a perfect presentation should be.

    Some want formality. Some want humor. Some want more stories and others want none. Accept you are you.

    Some people will like/love what you do, others won't and still more will be indifferent. That's life!

  • giving up trying to control people or things you can't
    If you've done your preparation, covering all aspects you reasonably can - room set-up, audio-visual material, speech content..., the rest is not yours to worry about.

    You can not control someone who suddenly has a sneezing fit in the front row, or the person called away urgently etc, etc. What you can work on though is developing the flexibility to take stuff like that in your stride, and on revealing yourself. That is allowing your humor, your humility to shine through in personal stories or comments pertinent to your speech.

What is the message here?

It's more than OK to be you. Strive to be the best of you and the more you can achieve that, the easier it will be to deliver what you want to say effectively.

What's holding you back?

If fear has grabbed and run off with your confidence here's three options you may like to follow up.

  1. Check out my page on how to manage acute anxiety effectively. You'll find 16 tips including some you can start on immediately.
  2. Sign up for my free email course on getting over fear of public speaking.
  3. Find out more about my personal coaching sessions. One may be all you need!

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Farewell speeches

When you leave a job you'll often be asked to say a few words - to give a farewell speech.

And maybe that's the last thing you want to think about and prepare. Because you have so much else to fit in before you go, and so little time to do it all in.

Is that you? If you need a farewell speech try my Speech Builder. It will help you prepare a good original speech very quickly.

Spend approximately 15 minutes and $9.99 US and you'll have your speech ready to go.

Farewell speech builder offer

Comment, share & connect

If you've got comments, feedback or questions you're most welcome to contact me through my about me page.

If you liked this issue of Speaking-Out-Loud, please feel free to send it on to any friends or family. The site url to forward so they can subscribe is Speaking-Out-Loud.

And I'd love to see you on's face book page too.

Until next time,
Happy speaking,


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