May 10, 2010

You're trying too hard

There's a huge temptation on Twitter to reveal only the "super cool" aspects of what we're doing and who we are. I'm not immune, and it seems most of us Twitter users aren't.

How often do you edit the heck out of your tweets so you come across as witty and clever? How often do you write about something you're doing or reading because you think it sounds edgy or sophisticated? How many of you use big words or foreign words even though you know most people won't understand you?

You are trying too hard to be cool.

In a platform like Twitter, it's possible to get by never showing the world who you really are, because everything you say can be edited before it goes out. You are creating a character that the world perceives as "you." But is it? And do you want people to know the real "you" or the crafted "you?"

Now look at yourself on stage. Do you find yourself trying to portray your personality as funnier, wackier, more clever, more worldly, or smarter than your real self?

I've said before that you should always strive to be the best version of yourself onstage, and I stand by that. But what I'm talking about here is striving to be a version of yourself that you've never been -- and that isn't you.

It's really hard work -- and stressful -- to have to try so hard to impress an audience. And it's not necessary. Audiences don't want fake. And they can tell when you're trying too hard.

You don't have to have have the comedic genius of David Sedaris or the wacky style of Sarah Silverman. You don't have to be as smart as Malcolm Gladwell, as outgoing as Tony Robbins or as popular as Oprah.

All you need to do is be human. Be real. Be honest. Be the same person you are when you're happy, healthy, well-rested and loving life. Deliver the content the audience needs and wants, in an authentic way that makes your message memorable, and that motivates them to take action once they're back in their regular environment.

And that goes for Twitter, too!

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Carolyn Newstrom said...

Hi Lisa,
Remembering to "keep it real" will certainly help take some of the pressure off my public speaking engagements. Heaven only knows the experience is packed with enough pressure as it is!
I also agree with your suggestion to avoid sugar coating every single tweet on Twitter. Hearing about ppl's struggles and challenges has helped me get to know them better - relate to them in ways we can all relate to. We are all engaged in "life", and life hands out both lemons *and* cherries. It's relationship building to share in both each others' successes and each others' challenges, disappointments, and foibles.
Thanks for a great post, Lisa!
Carolyn (@LuvenRN)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Carolyn! It's just so much more relaxing when you don't try so hard to impress the audience. You can still try hard to engage them and get your message across, but not at the expense of authenticity.

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