“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” — Brené Brown
When it comes to presentations, authenticity is the biggest asset you can possess.
In a world where people are constantly bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information and stimuli, audiences are more likely to tune out or be skeptical of anything that seems inauthentic or staged. On top of that when a presenter does not appear authentic, it can create mistrust in the audience toward the speaker. As a result, it is difficult to establish a positive relationship with the audience. That’s bad news for your presentations!
Hence, delivering your presentations with authenticity is vital!
As a presentation design agency, we advise our clients to be authentic in their presentations. We believe that authenticity & vulnerability are the best qualities to bond with your audience. So in this article, we’ll discuss what authenticity is & how to build it in your presentations.
What is authenticity?
Being authentic means being true to yourself, and not pretending to be someone or something you’re not. It means being genuine and honest in your words and actions, and not putting on a façade to impress others or hide your true self. When you are authentic, you are comfortable in your own skin, and you don’t feel the need to constantly put on a show or hide your true feelings.
Authenticity is nice to hear. But, “Be yourself” is easier said than done. There are many obstacles that stand between your fake self & real self. It’s important to understand these obstacles before moving forward. Let’s discuss them now.
Why is it so difficult to be authentic? The 5 main obstacles.
Many people may struggle with authenticity in presentations because they have been conditioned to believe that presentations are meant to dazzle and impress the audience. From a young age, people are often taught that a good presentation should be polished, rehearsed, and flawless.
This conditioning makes them feel like they need to put on a show and hide their true selves in order to be perceived as credible or successful. Additionally, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress for the presenter.
Some of the obstacles that stand in the way of authenticity are…
Fear of rejection: Many people may avoid being authentic because they are afraid of being judged or rejected by others. They may fear that if they show their true selves, they won’t be accepted or loved.
Social pressure: Society often places a lot of pressure on individuals to conform to certain expectations and norms, which can make it difficult for people to be true to themselves.
Lack of self-awareness: It can be challenging for people to be authentic if they don’t have a good understanding of their own thoughts, feelings, and values. Without self-awareness, it’s difficult to know who you truly are and what you stand for.
Past traumas: Traumatic experiences from the past can also make it harder for people to be authentic. If someone has been hurt or rejected in the past, they may be more likely to hide their true selves in order to protect themselves.
Expectations of others: The expectations of friends, family, or employers can play a role in how an individual presents themselves. The pressure to meet certain expectations can make it hard to be authentic.
How to deliver your presentations with authenticity?
We know that authenticity isn’t some switch you can simply turn on, it’s an ongoing process of healing & accepting. But, there are a few things you can keep in mind while building & delivering your high-stake presentations.
1. Get rid of the imposter in you
To be authentic in your presentations, it’s important to confront and overcome the feeling of imposter syndrome. If you’re reading the term first time, imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon where individuals feel like they are not as qualified or capable as others perceive them to be.
This can manifest in a number of ways, such as feeling like a fraud, doubting one’s abilities, or fear of being exposed as a fake. When delivering your presentation, imposter syndrome can cause individuals to doubt their own knowledge or to be overly critical of themselves.
“It’s the feeling that everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing, but you feel lost,” explains psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD
So, how to get rid of this feeling?
To get rid of the imposter in you, it’s important to first acknowledge that the feeling exists and that it is a common experience among many people. Remind yourself that even experts in their field have moments of self-doubt and try to focus on the content of your presentation, rather than on yourself. Remember why you are giving this presentation and what value you can bring to your audience. Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, which can help you stay present and focused at the moment.
2. Say NO to clichés
Being cliché in a presentation sends the message that you are not being genuine or original, i.e. inauthentic.
What are Clichés? They are overused phrases, ideas, or concepts, that are so common that they have lost their originality and impact. Using clichés in a presentation gives the impression that you don’t have anything new or insightful to add.
Instead of relying on cliches, focus on being original and unique in your presentation. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points, and try to find fresh ways to communicate your message. By taking your own sweet time to create an authentic and original presentation, you will be more likely to connect with your audience and make a lasting impression.
3. Be vulnerable
Being vulnerable also means being open to making mistakes and acknowledging that you are not perfect. Nothing beats vulnerability in creating a human connection with your audience.
So, don’t be afraid to talk about failures. Failures demonstrate that the speaker is not afraid to admit when things do not go as planned. Talking about them in a presentation shows vulnerability and builds authenticity.
4. Use humor
Additionally, using humor in your presentations is a great way to lighten the mood and make your message more relatable. However, it is important to use humor in a way that is appropriate and respectful. Avoid using humor at the expense of others or making jokes that could be offensive or insensitive. Instead, use self-deprecating humor or storytelling to bring levity to your presentation and keep your audience engaged.
Pay attention to the audience’s body language and reactions, and adjust your approach accordingly. If a joke falls flat or if the audience seems uncomfortable with your vulnerability, be willing to adjust your approach.
5. Leverage the ancient art of storytelling
People have been telling stories for thousands of years, and it is a proven way to connect with others. Stories convey emotions, values, and morals which creates a deeper understanding and impact.
By using storytelling & personal anecdotes, you can be effective in building trust and credibility with the audience.
To learn more about the art of storytelling, you can read our full blog on How to leverage storytelling in your business presentations
All in all!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde
Authenticity is the best strategy for delivering presentations because it allows the speaker to be true to themselves and their message. When speakers are authentic, they are able to connect with their audience on a deeper level and deliver an impactful presentation.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to create an authentic presentation, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would be more than happy to assist you as we have the expertise, experience, and skills to craft presentations that are memorable and convey your message in an authentic way.
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