December 20, 2006

Playing it safe. . . or being who you are?

In this week's issue of Newsweek, there's an article about John Edwards, former senator and vice presidential candidate, and the short documentaries he's launching on his Web site. Here's a quote from one of the "Webisodes,":

"I'd rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll. But . . . we're so conditioned to say what's safe. . . and it's hard to shed all that."

I posted about this last week, and Scott Ginsberg posted about it on Tuesday. It's that same fear expressed by so many of us, that the real "us" is just not good enough, or that we have to fit into some mold to be accepted.

What would happen if you just decided to be "you?" Would some people not like you? Maybe. Would you miss out on an occasional speaking opportunity (as it appears Scott Ginsberg did)? Maybe. Would the world come to an end? Probably not.

The reality is that being "you" is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your audience. And if some people don't love you for it, well, so what? It's really not possible to be loved by everyone. And the goal of a speaker isn't to be loved anyway.

As Lee Glickstein said in his teleclass yesterday on becoming a "masterful speaker," you're there for the audience. They're not there for you. You listen to THEM. You love THEM. You respect THEM. You appreciate THEM. That's how you build a relationship with each and every person in the room.

They're never going to respond to and resonate with a Ken doll.

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