What have you to offer?
I spent much of this last week presenting to a group of executives interstate and in one particular case, a board of directors from a well-respected educational institution.
I love presenting — for me it's part teaching and part learning. I don't think I'm a particularly good presenter, I just enjoy it and I embrace the opportunity to tell a story to a group of people. I've been presenting in my job for well over 20 years so I guess I've developed enough calluses and war wounds to make the next presentation a little better than the last.
My wife is weirded out at how much I love it because she, of all people, knows how much of an introvert I am. Big book, rain, in bed by 8pm. That's me.
Though, presenting comes easily to me in any manner of circumstance. I'm simply comfortable with it.
I find comfort in it because I do nothing more than be myself. I don't put on a facade, I don't go into character nor do I try to be Steve Jobs, Ellen De Generes or Oprah. So many people I've presented with, or have presented to me do this and it's a fast way down Bullshit Avenue.
If I've learned one thing about presenting to a large group of people, it's that you're up there alone and they're out there watching and listening to you — if you bullshit them, they'll see it and hear it in your voice, your body language and every nervous twitch and "umm" you use to pause and think.
It's not lost on me how difficult it is for some people to actually stop, pause and think ... but that's a completely other story.
So many people find it so very difficult to find their true authentic selves and so many find it even more difficult to walk with their true authentic selves onto the stage of presentation.
I recently shared an article on LinkedIn about a video that was shared with me and I'm using it to show you how powerful it can be if you simply stopped to think about who you truly are — and simply use that to move forward.
I was compelled by Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and a lecture he gave in 2011 — a lecture which has come to be known and respected in the world of writers and leaders alike.
This lecture moved me because it spoke of the very thing that I find comfort in.
"So you are here and I am here, spending our time as we must. I am not trying to spend this time as I spend most of my time, trying to get you to like me."
Charlie Kauffman's honesty, rawness and vulnerability was a truth for me that I try to communicate to the leaders and teams I work with day-to-day, week-to-week. To the people I present to, for and with.
To the amazing group of women I work with in my business.
To the many emerging creative leaders who try to create perfection and struggle with the fact that they can't find it. So many, struggling with the fact that they go from problem to solution and forget the important bridge they need to build in between the two.
"I want to tell you that I have a hope. That there's another way to be in this world. That I believe with courage and vulnerability and honesty that the stuff we put into the world can serve a better purpose."
Many forget that all they need to do is find the courage to be themselves thinking that execution will save them at the mercy of looking within themselves for the answer. Finding their truth rather than constructing one and seeking validation from their peers.
They struggle to find the courage to be vulnerable and authentic — and put things into the world that aren't slick, snake-oil hype, but rather true representations of themselves.
The final sentiment from Mr. Kauffman, I couldn't agree with more.
"What I have to offer is me."
"What you have to offer is you."
This is what empowers me to be comfortable in all manner of presentations. I have four booked in the next week and another four interstate presentations in the coming few weeks. I'm OK with it all because I know, in those presentations I offer my authentic self.
No bullshit. No fluffery. No fakery.
Nothing less, nothing more.