Public Speaking Persona


When you deliver a speech, should you or shouldn’t you put on a public speaking persona?

Today, Ethos3 Tweeted, “Presentations expose our most vulnerable sides. Feeling vulnerable, we might feel inclined to cover this vulnerability with another persona” (Source).  Garr Reynolds’ masterful textbook on delivery, The Naked Presenter, explains that the only way to be a true presenter is to be the authentic, natural you.  He defines delivery as a conversation between presenter and audience instead of a performance by the presenter for the audience.

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If delivery should be like a conversation, think about the conversations you’ve had with others.  As human beings, we can immediately tell if someone is being phony, and we don’t like it.  If a presenter puts on an act, that authenticity is lost.  We don’t like people who pretend; similarly, we don’t like presenters who are artificial.

Write down five key elements of your personality.  What are you really like?  What do you hope people understand about you?  What words or phrases best describe the real you?

Use your list to help you plan your next presentation.  Never try to inhabit a persona just for a speech; your audience will see right through you.  Instead, think about how you can show your audience who you really are through your content, delivery, and visual presentation.  The best way to let the real you shine through is to ensure you aren’t putting on an act.  Judy Garland said it best: “I’d rather be a first rate version of myself than a second rate version of someone else.”


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