Is That Really You?

Is That Really You?

One of the words we hear quite often these days is “authenticity.” In a nutshell, authenticity is the degree to which people think you are, or aren’t, being the real you. Here’s a quick example: You’ve just scheduled a meeting with someone you haven’t met before and go to LinkedIn to check out their profile. But when you meet the person the next day, he/she don’t look anything like their picture.

It sounds like a small thing, and it’s easy to understand why someone would want to keep using that wonderful photo taken years ago. But is it authentic? What is a potential client/customer supposed to think when they meet someone who looks much older, or is easily 20 lbs heavier?

As a speaker, there are many times when you’re going to be speaking to an audience of people who’ve never seen or heard of you before. They won’t know if you’re being authentic or not, so, as soon as you step up to the podium, they’re going to start making decisions about how authentic you are, or aren’t.

Hopefully, your presentation will help them decide that you are genuinely and authentically there to be of service. If that happens, that’s a good thing. But we also know it takes more than one presentation—even if it’s a great presentation—to build a relationship with a potential client/customer. We also know that the next stop for anyone who wants to know if you’re actually as authentic as you appear to be is the internet.

If you want to ensure that your authenticity extends beyond your presentation, think in terms of consistency.

1.    Consistency can lead to sales. Sometimes people are so excited to have an audience listening to them that they aren't aware of how often they are reminding their audience that they’ve got something of value to sell. On the other hand, speakers who consistently focus their presentations around sharing their valuable information and problem-solving content are more likely to build the kinds of relationships that actually lead to sales.

2.   Make sure you can consistently deliver on everything you’re offering.People have a tendency to promise more than they can deliver hoping that it will impress their audience. I get it, but we all need to be honest with ourselves about what we can do right now. Start with the goal of consistently doing a great job of delivering a solid presentation. Once you’re off the stage, make sure to follow up with everyone who expressed an interest in hearing more about you and what you have to offer. Do this consistently, and when you’re ready to step up to the next level, your audiences will be thrilled to hear that you have more to offer them.

3.   Think in the long term. This means growing your business/speaking platform in stages rather than trying to do it all at once. Work on the foundational aspects first, like nailing down your signature presentation and getting your website built/updated. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to establish yourself across every business and social media platform at once. Instead, choose and focus on the first platform you want to use to establish yourself. Be consistent on that platform first, and then add another.

Authenticity and consistency really do tend to go hand in hand. There are other aspects of speaking where consistency comes into play too. Such as how we present ourselves and our expertise. If you’re still trying to work out the details of how to present yourself, it’s the perfect time for us to have a conversation. Seriously… stop beating your head against the wall trying to figure it all out on your own!