March 8, 2012
CRITERION #9: PERSONALITY
Let your personality out - it can be scary.
I can only recommend one solution. Do it.
When you are contemplating giving a speech, one of the places from which fear appears, is that place where you keep your most intimate sense of your SELF. That place where only you go. That only you know. Where the real YOU lives. Your personality. The Latin word for it is ‘persona’. It’s a private place. Only you have the key to the lock. However, when you go on-stage, you are pretty much throwing things open wide and inviting everyone in for a look. And that’s scary. You feel vulnerable in your privates. That’s a fact!
When you go on-stage, you are putting your private personality on display, and there are many, very normal people who are reticent about doing so. That’s fair. Hey, I like people like that. However, when you go on-stage, unless you were forcibly dragged there kicking and screaming, you have a responsibility to show a little of yourself. It’s not fair to your audience to speak the words you speak to them from behind a closed door. And it’s not effective, either.
If you’ll agree that since you’re going to be on-stage (one way or another), you’d rather be an effective communicator than not, then you’re going to have to put your personality on display. Even if you don’t like to. And, even if you do like to (and there are plenty of normal people like that, too), you need to think carefully about precisely what persona you want to project on-stage. Think about using your personality as an essential means of getting your message across – as an asset, not a liability.
Let’s talk about Packaging for a minute. (Love those “P” words!)
Packaging is – or can be – a key component of the perception-versus-reality truism. If you want someone to have a particular perception of you, then you’d be well advised to “package” yourself appropriately. Now, you might consider that to be a too, too calculating approach to life… an approach that isn’t what you stand for… or, you might consider it to be just putting your best foot forward. I think you’d be best served to consider it the latter.
Here’s an exercise for you. Picture yourself leaving the stage after your speech, and pick three adjectives that describe the kind of person you’d like your audience to think you are now.
Is it “Credible – Articulate – Committed” …
Or, “Dynamic – Confident – Warm” …
Or, “Sensitive – Strong – Trustworthy” …
Picking those three words is the first step to being them.
Once you have your words, you need to apply your mind to how you’re going to look, sound and act on stage, so that you will influence people’s perception of who you are. And what you stand for. You’re Packaging yourself. You want to control the impression that people have of you… instead of just winging it, and then falling prey to the whatever-happened-up-there-when-I-suddently-found-myself-in-the-spotlight-and-started-to-sweat syndrome.