ArticlesPublic Speaking

Get Real

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Humans are born storytellers, but our education system doesn't help us develop these natural talents that we all have. Instead, society increasingly homogenizes us, covering up the things that make us unique. The media, too, bombards us with messages that encourage us to emulate the celebrity of the week, or to try the latest fad.

Most of us are far from real, far from that effective communicator inside us all.

In our Excellence in Speaking Institute course we try to create the mindset that you must be real to be effective. We give you a safe place to practice your natural talents until you feel comfortable using them. We give you the chance to be more you.

We teach that a powerful presence is not about the accessories. It is not about emulating great communicators you have seen. To be powerful you must strip away the facade, not add artifice. Get to that real you, that vulnerable, powerful you inside. It is about finding your own voice.

I don't want you to be the next Walter Cronkite or the next Oprah Winfrey. I want you to find your authentic style. How do I do that, Ty? Well, we have identified six basic styles of presenters: the teacher, the persuader, the prober, the humorist, the conversationalist and the storyteller.

We developed some questions that will help you discover the real you lurking inside.

Do you feel comfortable giving certain types of presentations, but not others? If so, what makes the difference? Can you make a sales pitch, but freeze up telling a personal story?

Are you comfortable making a report to the board, or acting in a play?

Do you tend to speak formally or more conversationally?

Do you illustrate your points with jokes or anecdotes? Or is your style to rely on facts and figures? Is your strength in boiling down complex information into understandable bite-sized chunks?

Are you comfortable with confrontation? Do you find that people laugh easily when you share a story?

What mannerisms do you unconsciously use?

The answers to these questions will help you uncover your personal style, but don't force yourself into a category. Practice and let your style discover you, the real you.

Ty Boyd, CEO of Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems (, is in the Broadcast Hall of Fame and the Speakers Hall of Fame. He has taught presentation skills to Fortune 1000 executives in more than 34 countries. His Excellence In Speaking Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005.

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