Let me share my story: I started speaking in the 1990s when the majority of speakers were white males, over 50, in blue suits with red or blue ties. I was actually TOLD : “if you want to be successful you will wear a suit, with hose, and closed toes shoes. And do something with that hair.”
That’s totally unacceptable. It so impacted my self-worth that I changed who I was. I have always wanted to speak. I started in Toastmasters in the seventh grade! This was my calling. And for “professionals” to tell me I couldn’t do it any other way, I changed.
For years I would put on stupid outfits that didn’t fit who I was. I would try to put my hair up to control my natural curls. Don’t get me wrong, I got work, I spoke on many stages looking just generic as ever. Then I had that moment “wake up call” where I realized it needed to change. I was a speaker at a three day conference. I had actually done many videos over the three days. And videos of me before I made the changes versus after our dramatically different!
My energy shifted with speaking and being authentic.
Have you struggled with becoming a speaker and staying authentically you? Have you questioned your style or approach maybe because you aren’t getting the opportunities you desire?
The greatest speakers come from a real space. When I converted to my kick ass high heels, jeans and tank tops on stage everything changed for me. When I stopped being afraid of saying shit on stage…everything changed for me. YES! I swear on stage!
I also remember a particular NSA phase where every speaker seemed to have had an acronym and the same business cards, and presentation style.
That becomes inauthentic. If it isn’t you, why do it…audiences saw through it, and it got tired fast.
Our world, especially with our youth today has drastically changed. How they speak, and how words, especially swear words, are used are not dirty anymore.
I am thrilled that I am surrounded with a bunch of open, diverse, dynamic kick ass event planners and speakers that embrace all differences and styles. Wow that’s an amazing place to be! Becoming a speaker and the authentic you. Yes, yes you can. Just step into your confidence and own it!