The importance of being YOU on stage

Dale Carnegie was a smart guy. He knew how to win friends and influence people (the contents of his seminal book still ring true today) and his ideas on effective public speaking are equally insightful.

Reading about the public courses he ran in the USA during the 1930′s, I was struck by a term he used – ‘enlarged naturalness’. He stressed the importance of being yourself as a presenter. You are in a theatrical situation when you’re addressing an audience. But rather than ‘acting’ in the sense of pretending to be someone else, enlarged naturalness is about being a bigger version of your normal self.

It’s not appropriate or necessary in a normal conversation but when you’re speaking on a stage you’ve got to fill the room with your energy. You have to pour your heart and soul into what you’re presenting. The audience has to understand how strongly you feel about your topic, and that means letting yourself go a bit.

The trouble is people normally go the other way when they present. They’re nervous and worry about being ridiculed or doing something wrong. That means they CONSTRICT and give a poor performance, ironically because they’re trying to be perfect!

You might lose your way, stumble over some of your words, but audiences will be drawn in by your enthusiasm and passion. They don’t want to see slick and polished. They want YOU! Let them in.

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