Have you ever been asked to deliver a keynote address or presentation and found yourself studying the style of the speakers that you admire? There is nothing wrong with learning from great orators. Even great rhetoric mentors, such as Cicero and Aristotle, advocated it. However, imitating superlative speakers or incorporating their gestures or habits into your own style is a strategy doomed to failure. |
If you truly want to become an impressive speaker; someone who can deliver a message that will touch lives, inspire listeners to take action, and instigate change; then you do not need to imitate anyone. You just have to be yourself.
The Downside of Imitating Others You will sound insincere.
Your audience wants to listen to you, not to a copycat of some great orator. When you are not your authentic self, your message will come across as artificial. People can easily see through your words and actions and determine whether they come from your heart or not. Remember, in public speaking, sincerity is what makes your audience trust you. And as the cornerstone of influence, trust is what sets apart the effective speakers from the pedestrian ones.
You will never achieve your fullest potential.
Always keep in mind that imitation is not the road to greatness. If you truly desire to become an exceptional speaker, then you need to stop imitating other people and start developing your own potential; your own style. Remember, you are special and unique. You have innate potential within you that is waiting to be discovered. But if you copy other speakers, your development is limited to someone else’s potential.
You will never be as good as they are.No matter how hard you try, you can never be as good a Zig Zigglar as the real McCoy. You may spend several years copying the facial Zig Zigglar’s facial expressions, gestures, and language, but you can never do it as well as he can. There is only one Zig Zigglar in the same way that there is only one you.
Be Unique, Be Yourself! Ronald Reagan's speech coach, Roger Ailes, said that in order for you to become an effective speaker all you need to do is be your best self. True enough, the key to becoming a top caliber speaker is to be simply you. Here are some effective strategies that will help you use your individuality during your presentations. Be a storyteller Everyone loves good stories. And for sure, your audience would love to listen to your personal stories too. By sharing anecdotes that are related to your presentations, you will be able to connect with your audience on a more personal and emotional level. Through your stories, people will come to perceive you as an authentic individual who experiences the same situations, problems, and emotions they face.
Be humorous One sure way to grab your audience's attention is to make them laugh. Being humorous will make your presentations a lot more interesting and memorable. Making your audience laugh and keeping them amused is an effective way to win their ears and hearts.
As a rule, never memorize your speech or lecture word for word. Doing so will not only bore your audience but will make your message ineffective. As such, be spontaneous. This will not only make you sound more sincere and authentic but will also help you develop your improvisational skills.
Nothing turns off an audience more than a speaker who is lifeless, dull, and boring. If you want people to actively listen to you, then you need to be passionate about your message.
Great speakers are not only good at delivery but in preparing as well. Preparation comes in various forms. It could be attending public speaking classes, such as Toastmasters, where you can practice and enhance your skills. Preparation can take the form of research to make your presentation more factual. Your homework might include gathering interviews from experts to make your lecture more authoritative. Or you could hire your own speech coach to help you learn new ways to improve communication skills. Whatever type of preparation you make, it's important for you to come on stage ready and confident. Remember, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Imitating great speakers, especially if you are a beginner, is fine. However, if you truly desire to improve communication skills and become a world-class speaker, then you need to stop mimicking others and be just yourself. Your uniqueness alone is enough to create change in the lives of your audience.
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