Authenticity Wins the Day!

I recently participated in a Toastmasters Division Evaluation Contest.  A friend from my local Toastmasters club was also there competing in the Humorous Contest.  There were four contestants in each contest and ‘by chance’ (I don’t think so), the two of us from the Park City club swept the contest taking 1st place.

Am I saying that the Park City club rocks?  Yes!  But I am not implying that we are better than anyone else competing that day. In fact, anyone of the contestants had the ability to win that day.  It came down to how we presented ourselves (and our material, of course).  I made an important observation though and am reminded of a critical key to not only winning contests, but being effective in public speaking in general – authenticity!

Were the other contestants untruthful or fake?  No.  But it is possible to be so polished that you don’t endear yourself emotionally to the audience.  It is possible be so rehearsed that you are perceived like an actor.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of rehearsal, but not so much that you come across as flawless.  A little imperfection can go along way, communicating that you are a real person that people can relate to.

I made the mistake of trying a new approach to evaluation that day and started my presentation weakly.  I expected to not win, but was pleasantly reminded when someone in the audience told me that my evaluation was so sincere.

Authenticity wins the day!

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