Many public speakers, from corporate executives to candidates running for president, suffer from ADD—Authenticity Deficit Disorder. This truly is unfortunate (for speakers and audiences alike) because more than just about anything else, audiences today crave a high degree of authenticity from speakers.

What do I mean by authenticity? Just what it says in the dictionary: not false or copied; genuine; real. How does a speaker know whether he or she is being authentic?

I believe the best test is what I call the "best friend" test: Are you the same person in front of the audience as you are when talking to your best friend?

Speech coaches and public relations consultants who help clients with their public speaking and media interview skills often put the cart before the horse. They should start by finding the speaker's authentic voice before crafting compelling content or catchy message points. After all, audiences are pretty good at detecting phoniness and empty rhetoric. That's why I like to work with my clients from the inside out. I believe success on the podium (and on TV) is, first and foremost, an inside job.

In my latest book, I describe five mindset shifts to help speakers overcome their ADD problem. If you follow these tips, you'll unleash your authentic "Podium Power" and make sure the real you shows up to give the speech. Here they are:

• There's no such thing as "public" speaking. This mindset shift recognizes the reality that speaking with ease and comfort to friends, colleagues and loved ones comes naturally to most people. It's only when we treat a certain kind of speaking as "public" speaking that the anxiety butterflies starting flapping their wings. Repeat these magic seven words to yourself over and over again: "There's no such thing as 'public' speaking." Think of it as a mantra or affirmation that will help put you in the right frame of mind for your next speaking opportunity.

• You can only speak to one person at a time. This mindset shift follows naturally from the first. Try it yourself. Try speaking to more than one person at a time. It's impossible. Follow your eyes and you'll see that you can only engage with one person at a time. While you're talking to one person, looking directly into the eyes of that person, others can listen in. But you're really only talking to that one person. Speak to that person for a few moments, then do the same thing with many others in the audience. Inevitably, you'll be connecting with only one person at any given point in time.

• Don't be content with content! This third shift opens the door to what I call "Whole-Brain Speaking." The key idea is to go the extra mile, go beyond a singular focus on the information you want to share with the audience. Far too many presentations are left brain focused. I advocate tapping into the right. That's where you'll find imagination, intuition, enthusiasm, passion, emotion. Yes, the content of your presentation is very important. It's a necessary, but not sufficient piece of the puzzle. The poet Samuel Coleridge said it well: "What comes from the heart goes to the heart." As a speaker, you should try to engage the right brain—your own, and that of the audience.

• The audience supports you. This shift moves you from any nagging feelings of self-consciousness to support-consciousness. With the first three shifts, you've begun to think differently about speaking to audiences. You're moving away from the very idea of "public" speaking toward just speaking to one person at a time. You're not focusing exclusively on the content of your speech and opening yourself up to the right brain elements of heart, emotion, connection, relationship and imagination. Now you're ready to take another very big step: The recognition that the audience actually supports you. You must truly believe and internalize this reality: The audience wants you to do well, to succeed, to be engaging, to be informative and motivating. Most of all, the audience wants you to be comfortable being yourself.

• Make sure the real you shows up. The first four mindset shifts culminate naturally in this final stage. Authentic speaking ultimately means making sure the real you shows up. Your goal should be to let the natural, authentic, comfortable "you" give the presentation, not a self-conscious, overly scripted, programmed, stressed-out version of yourself (or your client, for that matter). How will you know whether the real you actually shows up? Again, the real, authentic you is the person you know yourself to be when you're talking with your best friend. You should be sure to bring that person to the podium to give your presentation.

Make these five mindset shifts and you'll successfully overcome the dreaded ADD affliction. You may even experience the joy of speaking.

Author's Bio: 

Matthew Cossolotto ("The Podium Pro") is the author of "All the World's A Podium—Unleash Your Authentic Podium Power and Speak Your Way to the Peak." He is also the founder and president of New York-based Ovations International, providing executive speechwriting, coaching and guest speaking services. Visit for more information. Matthew's new book has just been released: The Real F Word -- The 7 FAILURE Traps of Highly Disempowered People (and what to do about them). Visit