Why Be Yourself When You Speak in Public?
In part, as Oscar Wilde is supposed to have said, because everyone else is taken!
But more importantly, be yourself whenever you stand up to share your thoughts, insights, or perspective because:
- You are (pardon the slight corniness) “the gold standard of you-ness”;
- You are the person who best understands the point of view you want to convey; and
- You are uniquely interesting to an audience. Seriously.
Here’s an example:
Be Yourself, Because What You See is What You Get (or Should Be)
In late 2011, I was privileged to work with two outstanding young people who were being honored by the Robin Hood Foundation: Mutiya Vision and Delkys Ortiz Pena.
The person you see in this video of Delkys’s speech is the exact same young man I worked with — modest and thoughtful, with dignity and gravitas far beyond his years.
Delkys stepped up to show his real self to this high-profile awards-show audience, confident in the knowledge that authenticity was the greatest gift he could give them.
Be Yourself, But Don’t Give Up Your Boundaries
Notice that Delkys didn’t “tell all.”
He declined, for instance, to explain what happened on the night that his father “went too far” — even though I thought that he should.
He also declined to embellish points, or go for an easy sense of drama. Instead, he told as much of his story as was right for him, in his own way, in his own style.
Most of all, Delkys showed respect for his story and his audience. Because of that, his understated speech was inspiring, and gripped their attention.
When you decide to truly be yourself, not just a generic “public speaker,” your words will be gripping, too!