Guila Muir

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

The “I Don’t Feel Like Me” Blues

that's not me yowlHave you taken a presentation skills course with me (Guila) and found yourself feeling strange, even “fake” as you practice unfamiliar behaviors?

You may remember hearing my prompts during the session. They include:

  • Use the Magic Circle!
  • Own the Real Estate!
  • Drop the Figleaf!
  • Sternum Up, Shoulders Down! and even
  • Show Your Body!

Sometimes, my workshop participants push back. They may tell me “That’s not what I do,” or “This doesn’t feel like me!” While I empathize with their discomfort, I’m also glad they’re feeling it. Behaving in a new way SHOULD feel different, even a little scary.

The Intensified You

Why are you taking a presentation skills course? Presumably, it’s to improve your presentation behaviors. These behaviors can be defined as unique skills that improve your delivery of content. They are not skills to make you better at coding, supervising, engineering, making art, or any of the skills you already excel at doing.

When you feel out of your comfort zone as you practice new presentation behaviors, give yourself a pat on the back. You are expanding your boundaries. You are stepping into your “intensified you” persona.

“Intensified” or Fake?

Your “intensified you” persona includes:

  • Speaking more deliberately, and probably more loudly.
  • Taking up more physical space through the use of gestures and posture.
  • Demanding attention, and thriving in it for the duration of the presentation.

The “intensified you” persona is 100%, authentically, you. It is simply a stronger, more confident and powerful version of your everyday you.

The New Science

2,000 years ago, Aristotle proclaimed that acting virtuous would make one virtuous. More recently, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy found that we become how we act. The way we use our bodies shapes who we are. We know now that change occurs from the outside in, not only from the inside out.

By acting “as if” you belong in front of an audience, you start belonging in front of an audience. By looking powerful (even if you are quivering inside), you become more powerful.

Embrace It

The move from the “workaday you” to the “intensified you” might feel uncomfortable. Complain if you desire. But if you are serious about being the best presenter you can be, say “hello” to new sensations, postures, and movements. Start to enjoy a new side of yourself—the intensified you.

“Our bodies change our minds. Our minds can change our behavior. Our behavior can change our outcomes.”

Amy Cuddy

Want more tips to improve your speaking self? Learn about Guila Muir’s Presentation Skills Workshop.


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