People who give this advice tend to be outwardly confident people who seem very sure of themselves and who they are; they make it sound easy.
But what if you’re not confident? What if you’re not really sure how to ‘be yourself’ or what that even means?
In truth, we are all more complex than that. We have doubts, fears, weaknesses. But we also want to do well, we want to succeed, we want to come across effectively. Being told to ‘be confident’ doesn’t really help. Being told to ‘just get out there and do it’ doesn’t really help. Being told to ‘face your fears’ doesn’t really help. Not if it isn’t backed up with practical, achievable, techniques.
Because every time you ‘get out there’, you are in the very situation that is so crucial to you: the interview, the pitch, the presentation. And if it goes wrong then, it’s too late. It doesn’t matter how well structured your material is, it doesn’t matter how much you know about your product or your profession: will they listen to you? Will you engage them?
Importantly, what do you want them to see in you? How do you want to come across to them? You have numerous choices at your disposal, using exactly the same material, depending on what you wish to achieve. You can do all of this with technique.
With good, solid technique as your foundation, you can build onto that your professional skill/experience/knowledge, and onto that you can add the ‘bit of magic’ that is purely something about you, which is unique and special, your personal charisma.
But in this ‘success flow chart’, the foundation is technique and this will never let you down. You know what you’re doing and why. You know how to use your voice to best effect. You know how to combat the negative effects of nerves on your voice. You know how to make sure you don’t stammer, uhm and er, gabble, become increasingly higher pitched, sound boring, sound aggressive, sound pompous, sound weak, sound unsure, sound under-confident, sound over-confident.
You have techniques to deal with all of this and more. What you need to achieve is hard enough. Don’t let your voice let you down: don’t underestimate the power and influence of your voice and speech skills.