On a recent performance coaching call, I was asked for advice on an upcoming presentation the executive was preparing for that week. She asked, “Should I be practiced, polished, and controlled when giving this presentation or should I be myself?”
It made me think about nature and how everything just is. There are no pretenses. Each species of plant or animal is unique in its own way and we appreciate the beauty of each one for exactly what it is. The complexity of a rose. The colors of a sunset. The grandness of the tall sequoia trees.
As human beings, we tend to exist in our heads; constantly worrying about what other people think or how others perceive us. This thought process creates barriers to being authentic. And in business, as in life, authenticity wins. Every time.
When you’re being natural, you’re amazingly engaging. If you practice too much or are too professional, your audience will be bored and you will lose them before you even begin.
It’s imperative when you are presenting yourself that you come off as the person you truly are. Here are some tips:
- Include real-life examples with metaphorical significance in your professional interactions. This brings the human side to business. It allows you to come across as relatable.
- Don’t over practice. Yes, you want to have a general outline of all the main talking points you want to cover, but don’t try to get it all down word for word. Allow yourself to live and enjoy the moment as it happens.
- Try to open up and be a bit vulnerable. When we allow our true selves to emerge, we connect with others at a more meaningful, personal essence level.
Whether in real life or in the boardroom, we all want to connect. When you are open and honest, you build unity in your team. The best leaders lead with their humanity and allow themselves to stand with their team, not above them.
So, the next time you have an important presentation coming up, by all means, prepare your content. While doing so and most importantly, allow yourself room to be spontaneous and authentic to connect with others in a way that is representative of your true self. Tell the story. Smile. Laugh. Be YOU!
When we take a walk in the woods and see a tree that might have a twisted and imperfect trunk, we don’t criticize the tree. We appreciate the tree for what it is and wonder what happened to cause the structural change. We let it just be what it is.
Do the same for yourself. Allow who you are to shine through in everything you do.