• Scott Stiefvater

To come across as authenTic, remember the "T".

Updated: May 20, 2020

As listeners, we crave sincerity/passion/authenticity in a speaker. But being that way when speaking is trickier than it looks.

Outer (horizontal) Alignment

To your listeners, your authenticity comes from the alignment of the muscle groups of talking with the meaning and emotion of the words you say. If you say, "I'm so excited to be here," and your voice, face and/or hands convey something other than a lot of excitement, your listeners' minds conclude you are putting on an act.

The challenge for some is that misalignment is a feature of their habit-pattern. I often work, for example, with clients who have, through unconscious habit formation, taught their face not to move much when they talk. They may say, "I'm so excited," and really mean it, but their face remains flat.

Inner (vertical) Alignment

Unless you're a talented actor, it is nearly impossible to be outwardly aligned without being inwardly aligned. If you say, "I'm so excited to be here," but you are thinking I'm so nervous, your outer muscle groups will not align well to the words. And if your intention is to survive this talk unscathed, you'll struggle even more.

Inner alignment is a challenge for almost everyone I coach because the mainstream presentation paradigm has an acting element to it. Having a script, often in the form of slides, is assumed to be a prerequisite for success. Notions like rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and pause-for-effect are normalized. The paradigm would have you believe that to serve your listeners you must intend to own the room.

Speaking is, in its essence, the transfer of something of value from speaker to listener. So, in order to be truly authentic as a speaker, you must adopt an intention related to service and generosity. Combining that with a habit-pattern that has your speaking muscles aligned is the ultimate key to unlocking your sincerity/passion/authenticity.


© 2021 by Scott Stiefvater,

(anti) Presentation Coach


Tel: 925-586-3517

San Francisco Bay Area


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