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Strip Off And Speak – A Natur(al)ist Approach To Public Speaking


Strip off and speak. I dare you.


No, I’m not talking about removing your clothes to give your next quarterly report. Nor am I suggesting picturing anyone else in your conference audience naked. Incidentally this naked visualisation is some of the most deeply pervading advice available on public speaking. I think it is very odd and have no idea if it works.

Let’s explore some stripping that involves a little less flesh.

You want me to say this out loud?!

Giving presentations can be a high-stakes business for you and your work. You have to research and prepare and rehearse and work out who will push back and what questions you’ll get and, and, and, and!

When it comes to working on your delivery, bringing your content to life with your vocal and physical expression, the last thing we want to do is give you more things to worry about.

You know the sorts of things,

“Speak like this…”
“Stand like that…”
“Gesture over here.”
“Look at her.”
“Be funny!”
“Be authoritative”
”Be engaging.”

All of these things make an impact and can be explored in Presence and Impact coaching. However

CAUTION: Consciously putting on these behaviours when in the act of giving a presentation is like putting on a disguise, a presenter costume.

Assembling your disguise:

Right hand: Point vigourously.

Voice: adjust to ‘Engaging mode’.

Like any bad fancy dress party, a presenter costume makes the speaker uncomfortable and the audience suspicious. Here’s why:

1. Your attention is on yourself, a million miles from your message and light years from your audience. If the audience don’t feel like they are part of the conversation take a guess where their attention will go. Select any from the following: phone, emails, lint on their clothing, dinner plans for the weekend.

2. The implosion of your attention onto yourself as you stand in front of your audience sends a cascade of self conscious energy twitching through your mind and body. As we send ourselves voice and gesture instructions we simultaneously start up those internal voices, “I’m boring, my voice is squeaky, I’m stiff, my feet are shuffling, why did I just punch the air?!” Your planned presentation will be hijacked by these thoughts.

Putting on presentation-mode ends up freaking you out which makes you forget completely about the audience.

Stripping off is the opposite of putting on.

So to work on your delivery and make the impact you want, start by stripping off.

Strip away all of those expectations and attempts to emulate the greatest orators of our time. There is no perfect recipe for public speaking – no perfect voice, or stance or pace or facial expression. No matter how many TED talks you watch you will not find the big red button within that produces a perfect presenter.

Each of us has different strengths and communication styles, idiosyncrasies, accents, ticks, and our own intangible je ne sais quoi – it’s called your personality! And this is enough.

Your personal investment in what you are saying and ease with being yourself will speak the loudest to your on-lookers.

By acting as the vehicle for your message and putting the audience at the centre of attention your voice and body will respond naturally. You will feel more present and have more impact.

If you are stuck in presenter-mode and want to get back to your birthday suit contact us for help.

It’s no fun trying to be someone else…unless you are an actress, but that’s my job.

Work With Victoria

Don’t just change slides…change minds. Contact me for a complimentary consultation and transform your presentations with Presence and Impact Training.

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Victoria Mintey

Victoria Mintey is a British actress based in Singapore. Using her ten years experience in front of theatre audiences and TV cameras, she has developed a unique style of training workshops: Lively and informal sessions where you can share your experiences and begin to shift your approach to public speaking, find your natural presence and be your best self in front of any audience. Visit her website at www.victoriamintey.com.

Edited by Amber Valencia, Image credit: Dreamstime

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