Artifice and performance are the enemies of engagement
I gave a talk yesterday on presentation and facilitation skills, and one of the key themes was the importance of shifting our focus away from ourselves (“Am I doing a good job?” “Do I measure up?”), and directing our attention to the needs and interests of the audience. This marks the crucial shift from performance to conversation.
Paradoxically, at the same time we also need to pay attention to being ourselves. I was struck once again by the “simple but not easy” axiom as it relates to authenticity. On one hand, what is simpler than just being who we are? But on the other hand, what is harder than offering our real, true self in front of a large (or smallish) group?
“The snow goose need not bath to make itself white.
Neither need you do anything but be yourself.” (Lao Tzu)
I’ve never seen a snow goose, but I’ve seen quite a lot of snow this winter. And up close every snow flake is unique and beautiful.
The most engaging presenters are fully focused and radically authentic.