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As I move more and more into the world of speaking, I am coming across teachings that talk about being ‘your authentic self’ on stage. What exactly does that mean? It may seem obvious. Be real and connect with the audience. How do you do that?

I’ve been reflecting and meditating on it, and this is what has come to me.

When you are sharing personal stories, you need to own your story. Warts and all. Being on stage sharing your story is not the time to have an outer body experience (especially if your story is difficult to share) – unless you are teaching or demonstrating an out of body experience. The same goes for sharing a funny story or something eventful that happened in your life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be traumatic. Whatever your story is, it’s a time to be grounded and present. That’s part of the connection with the audience. Along with making eye contact.

Being on stage is not a time to share a story when you are not healed from it. If you find yourself being triggered or breaking down in tears, the story is not ready for the stage, and you are not ready to share that story. Not yet. Your role is to hold the audience and allow them to feel an array of emotions. It’s not for the audience to hold you as the speaker.

You hold the audience with your energy and presence. This means the tone and intonation of your voice. The language you use. The pauses. Silence. The innateness of who you are in that moment.

Who you are one moment on stage, is not necessarily who you will be next time. Every time you are on a stage this is who you are in that moment. Not the person who gave that awesome speech last week or that diabolical one a year ago where you forgot your lines.  When you remember this, this is what it means to be authentic as you won’t be performing.

Due diligence is part of mastering your craft. Getting a handle on tech, practicing, and memorising your speech, using hand gestures, learning how to breathe and how to use your voice on stage are all part of process. This helps you become you on stage but to be authentic, goes beyond this.

Remember, own your personal story on stage. Stay grounded and present. When you do this, you will not only own the stage, but your voice will know how to speak and carry your story and you will connect with, and hold space for the audience.

Sana Turnock is a speaker on courage-related themes. To learn more or enquire for bookings, visit  Speaker – Courage Unravelled Sana also has a podcast called Courage Unravelled. To listen go to Podcast – Courage Unravelled