How To Be A More Authentic Public Speaker – Identify Your Why

One way we can become more authentic public speakers is to know and share our ‘why’.

Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why puts forth the idea that people will identify with your why—your overarching mission in life—more than with your job title, goals, or any of the other detail you might share with them. Therefore, it’s important to share your why—your key driver in life—preferably during the first few minutes of your talk.


The remaining detail can come later, after you’ve made that vital connection with the audience and created an environment of receptivity and openness. Here are some questions you can ask to help find your why so you can become an authentic public speaker:


  • What is the big motivator in your life? The driver that gets you out of bed in the morning? Is it your family and children? Is it your spirituality or religious beliefs? Is it the pursuit of wealth?


  • What is it that pulls you forward and gets your juices flowing, making you determined to succeed?


Know when to share your why

Once you know your why, it’s important to share it when appropriate. Perhaps you mention it during your personal story, at the beginning of the talk, or during the credibility section. Or if you’re giving a short piece at a networking group, briefly mention it before you describe the goods or services you offer.

By sharing your why, and the story behind it, you bond with people on an emotional level and it cuts through much of the surface detail people are picking up from you—your appearance, mannerisms—all those little things that we fickle and superficial human beings tend to dwell upon. Many of these judgements will crumble in the face of a strong and relatable why, delivered up as a personal story.

One of my clients, Lesley, works as a highly paid business consultant. Financial security is very important to her. During a group session, she shared her why. She comes from a family of six children and as a youngster, there wasn’t much money to go around. She now prioritises being well paid because it allows her to treat her family to luxuries that weren’t accessible during her younger years.

When Lesley shared this with the other ladies in the group, they instantly warmed to her and understood exactly what motivated her to always want the best that money can buy.


Time to search for your own why

Hopefully, using the examples I shared above, it’s now easier for you to identify your own why.

What is your key driver?

How can you succinctly relate it to your audience?
Once you find the answers, you will be one step closer to becoming a more authentic public speaker.