Be Authentic in Public Speaking or Training

The first few times you step in front of a crowd to speak or teach can be daunting. The key to success is to be you.

Think of your favourite teacher from school or that amazing keynote speaker you heard years ago but still remember. Were they being normal? Were they doing what everyone else was doing? Or were they comfortable enough in their own shoes to be themselves?

You can tell because they’re not trying to impress you. They only want to help. They relax into themselves and are so focused on being of service that ego falls away.

I understand what it means to lose yourself in fear. Watching myself on video is strange. Uncomfortable. (To put it in perspective, I’d rather wade into the wintery Bay of Fundy for a swim.) To compete for a book contract with Hay House last year, the largest publisher of self-help books on the planet, I had to upload a video sample of my Love Yourself ~ Be Yourself talk.

Being a Hay House author is my dream. The dream. To be of service on such a huge scale and to travel speaking and teaching. Amazing.

So what happened the first couple of times my talk about being authentic was taped? Ironically I was too focused in my head on what I looked like as I was speaking or I was thinking about what a Hay House author would do.

My friend and videographer /producer Elaine Shannon had the courage to tell me that I didn’t sound like me anymore. It hurt. But she was right.  The final recording of the talk worked because I remembered to take a few moments to focus on being of service ~ to spreading the word about honouring yourself to find your bliss.

Yes, formulas and methodologies work when you build your speech or training plan. Yes, watch other speakers or trainers for best practices. Yes, dress and choose words that are suitable for your audience. Then be authentic. Be you. Remember: “You did not come here to be normal. You came here to be you.” Dr. Robert Holden

How will you allow yourself to be more authentic this week?


  1. Daniel Wheaton on March 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    This is great advice, Catherine. It had me thinking back to the eccentric high school English teacher who was known for throwing a book at the intercom any time it interrupted his reading, smashing a typewriter with a golf club, burning whole sets of text books he thought were rubbish and attaching a car battery to the principal’s chair. He did NOT fit the mold of a “normal” teacher. But we learned in his class. And we loved learning.

    • Catherine on March 4, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I bet you stayed awake in that class, Daniel!

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