Existential Presenting: showing your underwear

flickr photo courtesy: rhin oneal

flickr photo courtesy: rhin oneal

No. I don’t want you to imagine the audience naked. Nor do I recommend you show your underwear when presenting!

But if you are inauthentic as a leader and presenter, it’s as embarrassing and obvious to your team and audience as if you were showing your spiderman underwear on stage.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying:

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The power of your influence and impact as a leader is based upon your ability to have authentic relationships. To have authentic relationships, you must first be authentic yourself.

Each encounter we have whether at the office, in our community, or at home is an opportunity to share our ideas and (hopefully) positively influence others. Don’t you owe it to yourself and those around you to work toward authenticity? (and cover up that underwear?)

Your audience, whether a single person or a room of a thousand, will not hear what you are presenting if it is incongruent with your actions – on and off the “stage.”

Anything less than an authentic relationship (in a presentation or otherwise) is a waste of precious energy and time – both yours and the people you lead.

That is why the eighth tenet of existential presenting, is to use all other tenets to gain self-knowledge to enable those authentic relationships.

That is why at presentationYOU we start with YOU! You must believe in the message and it must be congruent with your own ideals, beliefs, and values.

The struggle is that often as leaders we lose ourselves, our authenticity, over the course of our careers. We are influenced through education, training, and experience. And if you don’t know who you are, you will easily lose your authenticity.

Sometimes it happens gradually over decades and suddenly you wake up looking in the mirror only to see a stranger. Other times it happens suddenly. You lose your way because of a lost job, or other critical life event.

The important thing is to always come back to your authentic self.

What is authenticity? In existentialist philosophy it relates to an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposeful, and responsible way of human life.


It may be easier to describe the inauthentic person: as someone who bases their actions on external pressures—the pressure to appear to be a certain kind of person, the pressure to adopt a particular way of living, the pressure to ignore one’s own moral and aesthetic objections in order to have a more comfortable existence.

Every so often it is important as a leader and presenter, an influencer and communicator, to do an authenticity check. You may be surprised to learn how far off the path you have strayed.

Check your authenticity against this statement:

Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.
-Dr. Lance Secretan

Embrace the angst of presenting. It’s part of life!

You are presenting all day long. Every time you share an idea – whether you are in the boardroom, in a webroom, or across the table – you are presenting.

Presenting is communicating an idea.

Presenting with impact and influence means you get your idea across to your audience and it somehow changes them. It changes them so much they are ready to take action.

Are you changing the world with your ideas?

Take the first step – sign up for a consult.