Many mornings when we start our workshops to help people improve their presentation skills, we sense and see their hesitation. Arms folded, eyes cast down, chair swiveling. We know the signs! The participants think our mission is to change them, make them someone they are not, in order to be a better speaker.

It is such a great relief—for them and for us—to inform them in our first 5 sentences: “We are not here to remake you. We are here to help you be a ‘better you.”  The purpose of our presentation workshops is to help people rid themselves of any impediments, any obstacles, that keep others from seeing and hearing who they really are. Not being themselves is NOT a good thing!

One of our favorite sayings during presentations workshops and individual coaching is “Genuine over Articulate–Any Day!”  What we mean by this is: be you. If you need notes because you are an organizer and these notes will help you deliver your key points: use the notes! We’ll help you know how to use the notes so they aren’t in your and your listeners’ way but: use the notes!

Should you stumble over words or the delivery of a sentence or two: so what? Simply pause, regroup mentally and with your breath, don’t waste talk time with excuses or explanations other than: “I’m so excited to communicate what we have created for you! I want to get this right. Thank you for allowing me to start again so that I am crystal clear.” That genuine statement of your commitment to your client, to your listener, is the most endearing, meaningful point you could make. Now what you have to say regarding products, services, issues: it all adds to that declaration of commitment and earnestness.

Word perfect? No. Smooth talking? No. Error-free delivery: No. Be real, be genuine, keep your wits about you, and stay focused on your customer, your listener. What do they need to and want to hear from you? What is the language and style they speak in? Interpret that as you deliver so that you are speaking “their language.”

Slick, smooth, perfect are not necessarily the best terms for a trusted advisor. For someone who’ll roll up their sleeves and dig in for another person, a client, to get the job done.

“Highly relatable, genuine, authentic, honest, real”: those are the terms we prefer to help our clients describe themselves.

The most genuine you will be the greatest gift you can give your audience.  Keep that coming—even if it isn’t “perfect.” It’s real: like you!

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