Mastering the Art of Public Speaking: Be Yourself

By Spence Finlayson

NASSAU, Bahamas – When I first started speaking as a motivational speaker some 30 plus years ago in my native Bahamas, I was told by a number of persons that I sounded like African-American Motivational Speaker, Les Brown. It was flattering but I did not try to copy his style.

We all bring certain unique gifts to this world and my speaking ability is certainly one of my many gifts from my Creator that I am so grateful for.

I met Les Brown for the very first time in person around 1987 at a “Motivational Monday “ event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and sponsored by WNN for winners only motivational radio station based in Pompano Beach at that time. Les did his thing and everyone was obviously impressed. We chatted afterwards for a short while and there was some similarity to our vocal styles as speakers. But I never changed my speaking style or accent. I remained myself. So I encourage you to be yourself when you are speaking publicly.

There is no need to try and speak like anyone else.

I remember vividly conducting a training program for a large commercial bank in the Bahamas 28 years ago and I was so well received by the employees who thought that I was simply a great motivational speaker and that the other branches of the bank in the Caribbean should get an opportunity to hear me speak.

I was told by a senior member of the bank that the Vice-President did not think that the employees in the Caribbean branches would be able to understand me. I was disappointed to say the least but time proved me right.

You see, I never changed my accent or tried to speak like one of the top speakers at that time. I remained true to me and from my very first speaking engagement in the beautiful Cayman Islands, I was warmly and enthusiastically accepted.

In Curacao, in the Dutch Caribbean, I was invited to speak to the Toastmasters Club and when I was finished I received a standing ovation and the president said “where did you come from man, a real Caribbean man, who can speak as well as all the named speakers from the US.” I was blown away by his comments.

One of the things that I always admired about my fellow countryman, the late Dr. Myles Munroe, was that he never dropped his Bahamian accent no matter where he was speaking or preaching. He was himself. He spoke in his natural way and was an overwhelming success.

I remind you today to be yourself when you are on the podium.

On a side note, I saw Dr. Myles Munroe a few weeks before he died at Sports Radio 103.5FM where I hosted my own talk show called Dare to Be Great. He invited me to go with him to Africa on one of his many speaking excursions on that continent. However, unfortunately this was not to be, Dr .Munroe died tragically in a plane crash while going to his annual leadership conference in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

I remain true to myself when speaking and presenting, but I adopted my favorite musical group, the Tempting Temptations, high energy and stage presence. So you must remember that its showtime when you hit the stage to speak or present. You have to own the stage, you cannot be timid. Your audience can smell your fear.

Many years ago while watching a church service on BET or TBN, I saw an African-American preacher who ruled the stage, and his movements were quick, deliberate, precise and inspiring all at once. I liked his energy, style and passion.

A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson says’ to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment.”

Oscar Wilde said “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. “

Friedrich Nietzsche said about being yourself “the individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

Finally, I love this quote from Judy Garland “Always be a first-rate version of yourself and mot a second -rate version of someone else. “

Master Motivator Spence Finlayson - Mastering the Art of Public Speaking: Be Yourself
Spence Finlayson

Spence M  Finlayson, is an international conference speaker and the Founder & CEO of Master Motivator Spence Finlayson Speakers Academy. He is  a much sought after motivational speaker and has spoken in over 26 Foreign countries with 30 years experience. He can be reached at 242-677-0418 or by email at [email protected]

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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