(11) Be authentic.
In the live presentation I mistakenly said that vulnerability was the formula for authenticity. I misspoke. What I meant to say was a willingness to take a risk and be vulnerable was a necessary condition for authenticity. There are no formulas. Vulnerability is what makes us human. We are attracted to characters like Woody (Toy Story) because we see ourselves in their fragility. It’s what makes them human. Even superheroes are interesting only when we know that they have weakness, including the perceived weakness of self-doubt. What made Robin Williams such a remarkable and beloved entertainer was his humanity and his authenticity. This is not something you can fake. Faking authenticity is like faking good health. Sooner or later its all going to come crashing down. Authenticity is built on honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable. It is risky, which is why authenticity is relatively rare, but so appreciated when it is found.
Wired for story
We are a storytelling animal. We are not a bullet-point-memorizing animal. We are wired to be attracted to story and to learn from them and to spread them. "The best stories infuse wonder," Pixar’s Andrew Stanton says. Everything depends on the context of the presentation, but in most cases a good presentation is a mix of logic, data, emotion, and inspiration. We are usually OK with the logic and data part, but fail on the emotional and inspirational end. Certainly leaders and educators need to infuse a bit of wonder into their talks that inspire people to make a change. A good presentation should not end when the speaker sits down or the class comes to an end.
We will not impact everyone in even our greatest presentations. But if we can get enough people talking about the content in the hours or days after our time on stage, then that may be enough. That's something. That's a small victory. Maybe we have lit a spark or motivated someone just a little to explore our message more deeply in future. That is change. It may not be a big change, but it is a change...and that is making a difference. And that is worth getting out of bed for.