Tag Archives: BE YOURSELF


BE-YOURSELF-NEW  in a recent  coaching session, with a supposedly inexperienced and possibly nervous , speaker I was reminded that the first thing a coach should do is engage in some normal everyday conversation.

Chat away about something that interests both of you, listening and observing,  In almost every case, an entirely natural, animated conversation style will be revealed. Easy body language,  gesturing for effect and pausing for thought. You being yourself!

For a lucky few, this naturalness is maintained, seemingly effortlessly, in any performance. Few more so than Jamie Oliver. This is how A.A.Gill,  writing of his first meeting, described him:

“I can’t remember anything about it except he was one of the few people I ever met who had absolutely no fear of the camera. He was exactly the same on as he was off. There was zero performance anxiety. It wasn’t arrogance or vaunting confidence, he was just unusually comfortable behind his own character.” 

For the less lucky, most of us, the challenge is to maintain this naturalness under the pressure of performing perhaps for the first time.

Often the best first step is to  concentrate, not on the performance itself, but on the way you structure and arrange your script or content. Make it easy to deliver (and for the audience to follow), utilising the ‘rule of three’ with no more than three supporting arguments to your main theme. An earlier post  discusses this:  Handling the BIG speech nerves.

My book “It’s Not What You Say, Its The Way You Say It!” explores many practical aspects of performing naturally when it really matters, being yourself, but better.

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available in bookshops and from Amazon


The TV debates. (10) Be yourself!

 This is the tenth and final lesson for our plucky contestants as they face up to the three-part reality show series starting on Thursday.  It may be stating the obvious but being yourself can easily get lost in the deluge of  ‘debate-prep’,  the  dry-run rehearsals and the  gaggle of Obama consultants.

Imagine absorbing advice from someone who:

“Showed Obama how to look smart without looking smug, how to look compassionate without being condescending, how to shed the appearance of being self-involved and arrogant and how to knit his brows and look as if he was concentrating intently as a  question was asked before changing his facial expression and relaxing the slight frown into a smile as he came up with the answer”.


Then imagine endless rehearsals in front of cameras with, for example Alistair Cambell  playing the part of David Cameron or a Jeremy Hunt, rumoured to be better than the real thing, playing the part of Nick Clegg.

Then imagine the ‘relentless revision’ on argument, counter argument and rebuff all against the research-led concept of not merely having to perform well against your rivals but  having to perform against expectations. Cameron apparently will be judged by a higher standard than his fellow debators.

Then throw in the nerves that will be jangling, even for these well prepared and seasoned tv performers, as they  meet in open combat for the first time and where one slip-up can lead to the fatal thumbs down from the baying viewers.  Now try being yourself.gladiators1

Yet this is what will count. Not the words but the ease and the naturalness of the body language.  As veteran American broadcaster Jim Lehrer said in the Observer:

 “A person is a person is a person.  You are who you are and that comes out in debates.”