"We rein in ourselves and become more cautious". This was an answer to the question, "What happens when you are in front of the room, virtually or in-person, making a high stakes presentation to executives or key stakeholders?" I've seen it happen again and again. Presenters shrink their personality and along with it their passion in the presentation. The best visual for this is that of a turtle. When the turtle is comfortable, you can easily see all it's extremities. When the turtle is challenged, everything quickly disappears into the shell. When you reign in yourself, you pull in that personality, that energy, and all that self-expression. It’s exactly like presenting from inside the turtle shell. The impact is that your presentation becomes as compelling as watching a turtle shell as it lays in the grass.
Imagine for one moment the relative ease with which you speak to a friend over coffee. Visualize your animated facial expressions, the fluid movement of your gestures, the energy in your voice and your compelling but relaxed posture. This is whom you want to be when you are delivering an in-person presentation in front of the room or a virtual presentation. This is the relative ease that you should feel as the sense of confidence and calm flows though you. It's harder to reign yourself in, it's easier to just be yourself. Be authentic. Be a real person.
Let the authentic person speak
As a coach, the first thing that I will tell you is that you have the power to do this. It's already inside of you. You have to make a conscious decision to release that person, even in the face of uncertainty and fear. You will be ok and maybe even flourish. Here is the secret to finding that inner person. I'm going out on a limb here (an idiom), but that inner person is in your shower. I'm guessing that all of us, at one time or another, has sung some lyrics or hummed a tune or melody in the privacy of your shower. This is where that inner authentic person first appears. They also appear on Karaoke Night, but I digress. When you stop focusing on how you sound and look, the inner person feels comfortable enough to emerge. Think about the lost inhibitions of singing in the shower. You are you in all your glory (so to speak). This is the person that your friends see through all the veneer. This is the person that you need to be in front of a room full of executives, key stakeholders and other leaders. Think of the energy the person singing in the shower has. To steal and repurpose an old adage ... "present like nobody is watching."