Jay Surti is a coach, NLP Trainer and mentor with a passion for authentic communication.
She’s a former litigation lawyer who now works with corporate executives to help them with leadership development and transforming their communication.
Here are Jay’s thoughts on why authenticity matters and how Change Agents can make authentic connections when they communicate:
As leaders and change agents, we seek to persuade and inspire others. Whenever there is an opportunity to give a presentation there is an opportunity to persuade or inspire. Yet too often this chance is wasted because there is no connection with the audience. You can be as polished as you like, with amazing content, but if you don’t put the needs of the audience first and engage, you won’t move them to action.
So how do you ensure that you have a connection every time, so that your audience actually wants to listen to what you have to say? There are several elements that could be incorporated. Here are three powerful ones:
What is authenticity? Being you basically. It means being vulnerable and allowing people to relate and connect with you. People would rather see this kind of speaker than someone who hides behind a mask or someone who talks at the audience. It’s your personality that they want to see. You are unique. No one else will present the way you do. Think about how you show up when you are talking to a really good friend over coffee. That’s the level of connection you want. Your authenticity is what will resonate with people and make them want more of what you have to offer.
Be present in the moment and show you believe in your content. If you don’t care about what you are sharing then why should they? It helps to be really familiar with your content so that you don’t need to consciously think about it when you deliver it. That way you can focus on your delivery. Your tone of voice plays a huge part in making your presentation engaging. Use a conversational tone rather than a formal detached tone. Stories are a great way to make an emotional connection with the audience – getting them to feel something. Weave your own experiences into stories and bring them to life with descriptive language and enthusiasm. The more of you that is revealed, the more the connection with the audience. Personal stories told with sincerity have the power to inspire change in others.
Know Your Audience
When preparing a presentation, many speakers think only about what they want to say rather than what the audience wants to hear. Often, very little thought goes into how the audience will perceive it. This is completely the wrong way round. Before you even start mapping out your presentation, do your homework and find out what the audience needs and who they are. Find out as much as you can about them so that you can adapt your presentation to make it personal to them. Remember you need to get over the hurdle of them thinking: “what’s in it for me?” Focus on the outcome you want for them and then craft your presentation in a way that they can relate to. You want your audience to feel you have prepared a bespoke presentation rather than adopting a cookie cutter approach. Use language and examples that are meaningful to them.
Presentation is more than just standing up in front of an audience in a formal setting and confidently delivering information. It is just as much about the audience as it is about the information you share with them. When you know how to communicate with your audience in an engaging way you have the tools to be a great speaker and provide tremendous value.
– Jay Surti
Author of Authentic Business Presenter
Questions for Chatter:
- Which of Jay’s suggestions do you find to be most useful?
- In what ways have you seen Change Agents hinder their ability to communicate by not being authentic?