I just did a half an hour telephone coaching with someone who has to do a presentation for a very big audience end of January, and in the end what it all comes down to is ‘being authentic’. And this is not the first time I come to this conclusion. I am interviewing women in top positions in Belgium to see how important their presenation skills have been to get that position in their career. I have interviewed 22 women now and what they nearly all say is how important it is, not just in presentations, to be authentic. Now what does that mean for me in presentations ? I always stress that of all the techniques I advice, you can experiment with that, but it is so very important that it feels good to you. Because if it doesn’t feel good, it won’t sound good. I like people to start their presentations with a personal (not necessarily funny) story but if that feels very unnatural to you, please don’t do that. Look for something that feels good to you. In preparing a presentation ‘feeling your words’ is crucial. I have coached some beginning news presenters and very often the first time when they read from an autocue I can’t feel what they say. They pronounce everything right but it is a though they don’t hear what they say themselves, that it is just words. The more I coach them to ‘feel’ the words they say, the better they read from the autocue. And that is exactly so for presenters. And it begins with your ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon’. Really welcome yur audience, welcome them in a smiling way. Don’t make your welcome sound as the obligated first sentence. Feel it when you say it. Whenver you can smile in a presentation, please do that. You don’t have to smile throughout the presentation though. Being authentic means being hones as well and sometimes you have bad messages as well. My mean message for you in this post is TO FEEL YOUR WORDS when you speak them in a presentation.