This is the answer to almost every question you’ll ever be asked, be yourself. I’m not kidding, it really is. Most of us spend the majority of our lives trying to be who we think someone else wants us to be (or worse who several someone else’s want us to be, resulting in split personalities or at least multiple faces!) We make it difficult, we make it painful, we make it elaborate. STOP, just be yourself. No one else wants the job or will do it nearly as well. Find your authentic self and know that WHO that is only you will know. No one else can tell you WHO that looks like because it is unique to you.
As a speaker I have listened to dozens of top drawer experts tell me, over the years, HOW I should be on the platform. I’ve heard that each step should be choreographed and staged (you have to be kidding, big eye roll). Another speaking guru said I should have my speech so well memorized I can be awakened in the middle of the night and it will roll off my tongue (wow, sounds canned to me.) I’ve heard still others give a schedule of what you should say and exactly how you should say it. While these might work for them, they don’t work for me because they aren’t me.
And this is by no means limited to the speaking profession. This is the challenge that occurs to you in any profession when you spend too much time learning from the gurus (alleged and real) and too little time working on yourself. Working on yourself means finding your own voice, developing your own unique talent, and bringing your passion and purpose to the forefront of what you do.
What you focus on expands; what you think about becomes real. Stop giving the competition so much juice and use it for yourself instead. I had a great conversation with a new marketing client recently and when I asked about his competition he simply said he hadn’t studied them, or really paid much attention. He didn’t need to, he had carved a niche (actually about 10 of them) in a tough industry by doing it differently. If he’d looked at everyone else it is likely he’d have done it the same way and not achieved the incredible results that he has been able to.
Stop following the flock, you really will end up a lamb chop. Be yourself, do it differently. Know that if it feels good to you, if you can find yourself in your zone more often, it is going to work for your clients and prospects. Give up the second guessing and just be you, not the version you think they want to see (you never really know, do you) but the real you.