Don’t even try to be someone else…finding your true voice when delivering presentations

introvertI have been working with a private client recently and he has had an interesting dilemma. For many years he has been overshadowed by his louder, dynamic, extroverted colleague when it comes to speaking in meetings, delivering presentations and representing the organisation to clients, journalists and other interested parties.  For many years this has been fine by my client: happy to retire into the background, happy to take a back seat role, he has done what he does brilliantly well, quietly, efficiently and successfully.

Except…now he needs to come out of the shadows and now he needs to make his voice heard.  And this is his problem.  Before coming to see me he thought his only way to achieve this turn around was to talk louder and more animatedly than his colleague (quite a challenge!). In order to be heard and have influence of his own he thought he would probably have to turn into an extrovert (definitely not his style) and become something more strident, brasher and completely different to his true self.  What to do?

Have you ever been in a similar situation. Where it seems that maybe the only way to achieve is to become someone you are not? Or does appear that only the loud, brash, extrovert people get the attention, the influence and the results?

In my work with private clients and on the courses I run I always start by saying that while the skills I teach maybe the same and the templates, tools and techniques are constant, the aim of learning these is not to sound like everyone else but to allow your own, personal voice to shine through. It would be horrendous wouldn’t it, if everyone sounded the same – robotic, predictable, boring? ( although this is what lots of business presentations sound like I am afraid). Instead, armed with the right tools, the practical tips and techniques, the supportive templates, clients can work out their personal message and their personal voice in delivering this with enthusiasm, with meaning and with impact.

So, back to my client.  What a relief to him that he did not need to compete in the loudness stakes.  The sheer delight on his face when he realized that it was ok to be himself – calm, thoughtful, persuasive in his own particular way. And learning how to identify his core message, develop delivery skills which mean that he can engage his audience and help them understand and remember his message allowed him to blossom, as my Mum used to say!

Are you allowing your personal voice to shine through?  Are you an extrovert or an introvert?  Does it make a difference to how you deliver? Let me know what your thoughts are on this topic.

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