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Work your quirk: how personality pays in public speaking

Ginger Leadership Communications

When developing your public speaking skills, it’s really useful to understand your strengths as it helps you to grow into greater confidence and impact.  Do you believe that you have to show the ‘serious’ side of your personality – or that people won’t take you seriously if you smile? I can’t tell you how often I see serious and dull (they seem to go together) presenters.

If you’re anything like I used to be, you’ll believe that to be good at public speaking you must…

– Change your personality
– Manipulate people
– Play hard-ball like a hard-nosed hard-person
– Be pushy (close the deal, close the deal!)
– Use jedi-like mind tricks or a 7-step formula of some sort

Can you relate?

But Sarah (you ask) what if I don’t want people to see me? What if I’m quirky and weird and how can an audience take me seriously if I’m letting my freak flag fly?

I’m going to let you in on a public speaking secret… You’ve got to:

Work that quirk!

Of course a good speaker needs to get the basics right. They should be at choice with how their body, voice and mind behave whilst they’re speaking; they should have a solid sense of empathy with their audience’s needs; their content should be fresh, engaging and well-structured. But all of this can leave you cold without those authentic moments when a speaker talks from the heart.

Take a peek inward. I know, scary stuff. We compare our insides to everything outside. I have to be perfect, act perfect, look perfect, speak… perfectly. It’s truly an insurmountable mountain of malarkey we pile upon ourselves. What’s wrong with showing up less than perfect? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I showed my ‘weird’ side? That people will know you’re human? That you have bad days too? Perhaps your quirk may endear you to the audience, at the very least it will make you memorable and relatable.

News flash! Everyone is quirky in their own way. Maybe, just maybe, that quirky side will make others relate to you. Do you like people who paint on a mask? Then why should it be any different for those around YOU?

  • Don’t change your personality: find the power that already exists within you (Anything else will make you seem fake)
  • Don’t manipulate your audience: serve them.
  • Don’t play ‘hard ball’: connect with your audience and let your authentic quirky self shine out (People connect with people, not Sales robots)
  • Don’t be pushy, but don’t flake out on persuading either – confidently show them what you have and let them come get it.
  • Don’t use jedi-like mind tricks or the latest 7-step formula: find what you believe in enough to persuade people about and stick to it (copy-cats never influence as much as unique leaders).

Be yourself, don’t become a talking head—in any type of communication. You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through (even if it is quirky), and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person… quirks and all.

More information on how to become an authentic public speaker? 

If you’re eager to become a more inspiring speaker, Ginger has a multitude of courses just right for you! From freebies to e-courses, books to workshops, jump in to Ginger. Click here for a full list of Ginger courses and resources.

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Authenticity is featured in How to be Brilliant at Public Speaking: Any Audience. Any Situation by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes. Authenticity is the roof on the Public Speaking House – one of the qualities you can develop to become a Brilliant public speaker.

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