Be Transparent So People See Your Idea

You must be willing to be you, to be real, and to humbly expose your own heart if you want the people in the audience to open theirs. You must be transparent, and this is difficult. Standing in front of an audience is already a challenge in itself. When stage fright is compounded with the new demand on leaders to be transparent, it’s downright terrifying.

Being transparent moves your natural tendency of personal promotion out of the way so there’s more room for your idea to be noticed. The audience can see past you and see the idea.

There are three keys to being transparent:

Be honest: Honesty means giving your audience the authentic you. It’s not honest when you portray yourself as a flawless, almighty, invincible, know-it-all. You’re not perfect, and your audience knows that. When you’re genuine and honest—both with yourself and them— there will be more moments of vulnerability and sincerity in your presentations and you’ll communicate your humanness. It’s important to share stories that touch your listeners’ hearts, show how you have sometimes failed, and share ways you’ve overcome obstacles. Let people in to see that you’re real. Openly sharing moments of pain or pleasure endears you to the audience through transparency.

Be unique: No two individuals have gone through exactly the same trials and triumphs in life. This means that you have collected stories and experienced feelings along the way that no one else can lay claim to. It’s those unique attributes that make you interesting. People often attempt to hide their differences so they can fit in better and be accepted, but it’s our unique perspective that can provide new insights to a situation or topic. Don’t hold back your ideas. It’s true that sometimes you’ll be the only person who is seeing what you see. Be okay with it!

Don’t compromise: Speak forcefully and confidently about what you really believe in, and don’t back down. It’s a little frightening when your ideas are met with ridicule or rejection, but sometimes that’s the price of conviction. It’s never easy to attempt something that’s never been attempted before or speak up about a topic no one has the guts to confront. Take encouragement from the child in the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” When he had the guts to say what was really happening, he destroyed the pretenses of the entire royal court. Call it like it is.

Being true to yourself involves showing and sharing emotion. The spirit that motivates most great storytellers is ‘I want you to feel what I feel,’ and the effective narrative is designed to make this happen. That’s how the information is bound to the experience and rendered unforgettable.

– Peter Guber

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