Authenticity: How to be genuine when you present

Critical to your success as a presenter is recognizing that your audience will be judging you from the moment you stand in front of them. They cannot help it and they do not consciously know they are doing it but judging you they are.

An obvious question might be “what judgments are they making?” but we cannot know, we can only assume. The reality is that we judge ourselves based on our motivations and drivers (of which we are often consciously aware) but we have to judge others based on their observable behaviors. This is a well-proven concept based on the “fundamental attribution error,” according to trainers Tom Bird and Jeremy Cassell.

As a presenter, they say, your behaviors are driven by:

  • Your values (those things you hold as being important)
  • Your ego and wider personality
  • Your beliefs, fears and aspirations

It’s a complex mix. Often it is only when we see ourselves back on video that we become aware of how others might see and experience us and it is often a wake-up call.

Bird and Cassell say first piece of advice — and often the most important and powerful — to the clients they train is to be authentic when presenting. Authenticity is about being genuine and, in the context of presenting, it is about being a bigger version of yourself when you present rather than being an actor playing a role.

What is it to be authentic as a presenter? Click here to read the article Bird and Cassell co-authored.

You can also read a previous blog post of my own on the subject of authenticity (7 things that make us authentic — or inauthentic — while presenting) by clicking here.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.