You’ve probably heard it a thousand times.
“You just gotta be yourself! Don’t fake it! JUST BE YOURSELF!”
While I sought advice on getting over my fear and learning to become a great speaker, I was inundated with suggestions like “you just got to be you, man!” and “be yourself and people will listen!” Suggestions like these and variations of “be YOU!” are discarded by people with a fear of public speaking because more often than not, those who are most afraid of public speaking are the ones that have the most insecurities.
Public speaking is a performance—one that allows you to become the person you’ve always dreamt of being (and that you will soon become with dedication). It’s a platform to be what you know you’re capable of becoming. For much of my life, I took the “be yourself” advice to heart and it resulted in me looking and sounding like someone who needed to work on their self-esteem.
So don’t be yourself on stage, be the person you are striving to become. A presentation is a performance— it's your chance to break out of your shell and let your potential take the stage. If your lifelong dream is to become a marketing executive but you’re a server at the local Olive Garden, then talk like the marketing executive you want to be and force that room to see you in a different light.