Authenticity in Professional Speaking

Today’s question comes from Terra and she says, “I’m an actress so I know how to perform. I’m an NLP trainer so I know the techniques. I’m spiritual in nature and would love to be an inspirational speaker.  I want the talk to be authentic and real, not just motivational hype. Stuck for ideas.”

I would advise anyone wishing to enter the professional speaking arena to find something more than just being an inspirational speaker or motivational speaker.

[SPECIAL NOTE – In the speaking business we have different terms for what type of speaker someone might be. We have motivational speakers, inspirational speakers, humorous speakers, and many more classifications. An inspirational speakers is usually someone with a disability – maybe they’ve lost their legs or have been injured in an accident.  And despite their circumstances they have overcome huge adversity.  Their message is really how they overcame their obstacle and that message alone is very inspirational for people. In the speaking business we really don’t refer to fully functioning individuals like entrepreneurs, management experts or event your standard motivational speakers as an inspirational speaker;  We simply call them motivational speakers.]

Please remember that just because someone is motivational or likes to play loud music and jump up and down it doesn’t mean they aren’t being authentic.  For some speakers maybe the happy clappy style is authentic.   Case in point:  I have a dear friend of mine in London named Tosin Ogunussi – my brother from another mother.  He is a great guy and we could not train more opposite. He is all about the happy clappy jump up and down walk on coals, bend bars, break wood, and dance all night.  But the thing is, he loves that.  It works for him and so there’s not an ounce of inauthenticity in that mans body. He’s one of the most authentic and genuine trainers I know. So I caution anyone to have judgments against those type of speakers; it’s not my style but for some of those people its very authentic.

What I think Terra is really talking about though is creating a deeper message.  So another caution:  As a speaker, you want to move from just being a generic motivational speaker and find the thing that you are good at – that you have expertise in. That’s where authenticity really comes from. Authenticity doesn’t come from having a great message; authenticity comes from having walked the talk yourself and then your talk becomes authentic by whatever means of delivery system you desire – whether it be the happy clappy motivational, or the surreal subdued where you are sitting on a pillow in the lotus position; it really doesn’t matter.  What makes it authentic is that you’ve lived it.

As usual, I would love to hear any comments or additional questions, so please leave a comment in the space provided and make sure you check out the finest speaker online training in the world at Bulletproof Speaking where you can get a free e-book called The Professional Speaking Secrets of Topher Morrison.


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