Public Speaking – Use personas to become a more authentic public speaker

Did you ever feel like a phony on stage? In this article let’s explore how you can use the concept of personas to help you feel more comfortable when you’re public speaking.

What’s a persona? We are all a combination of different traits and personalities.

When I’m playing with my goddaughters, I’m fun and lively. If I’m holding a tiny baby, I’m gentle and sweet. If I’m defending someone who’s been mistreated, I’m earnest and persistent. When I’m on stage singing in front of hundreds of people, I’m vocal, larger than life, and often a little bit cheeky—I love to banter with the audience.

So then the question is: Which is the ‘real’ Shola? The authentic me?

Public Speaking – Know and use your traits wisely

In reality, we are all a complex jumble of different traits. So why not call upon the traits you need at the time you need them?

During a workshop, someone once asked me, “I feel uncomfortable speaking in a loud voice when I’m on stage. Day to day, that’s not how I behave. How should I deal with this?”

What I say is, have you ever needed to speak with a louder voice before? Maybe you have a hard of hearing auntie or you’re on the phone and it’s a poor line? So you raised your voice or projected further in order to be heard. During that moment, did you feel a fake? Probably not!

Public Speaking – Call on specific behaviours to get the best results in your presentations

In the same way, we can assess our speaking situations and add in a sprinkle (or a dollop) of whichever trait or behaviour we need to get us the best result.

  • Do you need to project your voice? Pretend you’re talking to an elderly relative who is a little hard of hearing.
  • You need to be fiery and energetic? Visualise cheering on your favourite team or going to a loud concert or show.

Write a list of all the different situations you regularly find yourself in, and how each one makes you behave. Then you can call on that behaviour at the appropriate point of your presentation.

For example:
           Supporting my son when he’s playing soccer: passionate and loud
           Out for a cocktail with girlfriends: upbeat and humorous

Hopefully you’ll realise that you have an array of mannerisms, voices, and demeanours at your disposal, all of which are naturally you.

Public Speaking – Channel your energy

It’s about harnessing the energy you need. That way you can step out the self that says “I can’t do it”, or “It’s not me”, or “I’m too small for this” and be a bigger person. A person who has the energy to give to an entire group. A person who radiates what’s in her heart and lets that energy touch tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people, instead of just one or two.

How do you want to be seen? What additional energy or behaviour do you want to incorporate into your speeches?

Decide when and where you might need an extra energy boost from one of your personas to help you give your best performance.


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 5 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

1 – Get my free guide – 5 frameworks to ace a short speech.

Create a speech stress-free and fast. Make it work every time.

2 – Connect with me on LinkedIn.

3 – Join my Facebook Group – Public Speaking for Female Coaches and Entrepreneurs.

Join us for tips, discussions and community!

4 – Do you need a speaking workshop or communication seminar for your organisation? Get in touch.

5 – Looking for an engaging speaker for your next event? Find out more.