They Taught You How To Be… Check Out What Happens When You Ignore Them!

This article is about how to be authentic in business and in life.

You will have noticed that I have changed my approach over the last few months. You might know exactly what I have done and why. Or you might not. And that does not matter. The point is that things have changed.

You’ve probably noticed that I have shared with you stuff that I have never shared in a decade and a half of speaking and coaching. More personal stuff. Things about me, my family, my life, my background and my journey. I have also been much more open about sharing my opinions.

Some of you will have loved this. I will have connected with you better. We may even have had a conversation, either in person or over email. I have had many. My posts about giving money to people in the street, the myth of talent, and the folly of willpower have had more interactions than 95% of all of the other articles I have ever written.

And that’s good news.

Quite simply I made a decision to be more authentic. I made a decision to be more open. I made a decision to share more of myself, more of the time. I made a decision to let people know more about me and not just my strategies and principles for success.

In business and life today, many people are boring. They are unoriginal. They are walking, talking, carbon copies of who they think they ought to be. They get up in the morning, pull on their work clothes, adopt their work persona and check their true personality in as they leave their house and pick it up again when they come home at night…

Maybe this works for some. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it is enough for some. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s right for some people in some industries. Maybe it’s not.

In my opinion, it’s not.

If you try to toe the line and please all of the people all of the time, you will end up truly pleasing no-one.

You will end up in the middle of the pack. You won’t truly connect with your customers. You won’t create raving fans. You won’t be the talk of your industry. You won’t make jaw-dropping presentations. Your products won’t sizzle and you won’t achieve the success that you deserve.

When you compete for business, you will be apples vs apples when you want to be a passion fruit. When you interview for a role, you will be another candidate not THE stand-out superstar. When you work with your clients, you will be a supplier not a confidante, a friend and an adviser. You will never be the go-to authority.

In my experience, when you embrace true authenticity, maybe 20% of people will love you. They will adore you. They will follow you, work with you and buy from you. They will hire you, refer you and rave about you.

These people will make you more successful than you can imagine. These people will help you achieve your goals and your dreams. These people will support you, share with you and inspire you.

Another 60% of people will like what you do. They will buy from you. They will hire you. They will work with you. And that’s cool.

20% however will not like what you do. They will not like your message. They will not like your approach. They will not like your energy. They may not even like you.

Most people are not okay with this. They cannot stand the thought that they are being true to themselves and yet some people just do not like them. So they choose instead to play the safe game, the one where everyone thinks they are okay but no-one truly loves them or truly connects with them. They choose to walk the mediocre, more normal path.

Don’t do it.

Embrace the real you. Embrace possibility. Embrace everything you can be. Be the real you. Connect. Share. Live. Succeed.

And don’t think that this does not apply to you. Try this experiment…

Think of anyone in any walk of life who is amazingly successful. Anyone who has fans. Anyone who stands out. You will see that this equation applies.

It could be a singer, a comedian, a politician, a business magnate. For example, I like Alan Partridge. Love him. Think he is hilarious. I am not the only one…

“Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan!” Oh, come on, that’s funny shit!



Some people hate him. They do not think he is funny at all. (“Smell my cheese.”) Over their heads. Not funny. We are not amused.

And some are indifferent. My wife can take him or leave him. Does not hate him. But doesn’t get it either.

Does Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge) care? I doubt it. His raving fans have built him an amazing career and life and he wouldn’t swap that for some less authentic version of his comedy that engaged everybody slightly but nobody fully.

I have recently undertaken my #100dayfithabit exercise programme where I am sharing my 100 day mission to lose weight, get fit, feel great and build healthy, positive, fitness habits. I am sharing what I am doing, how I am feeling, my wins and my learns. I am not sugar coating it or sanitising it for public consumption.

I am sharing it. Sharing me. Being authentic. That’s how to be authentic. Just be.

I am doing the same with my blogs, my talks and my coaching. It’s good news for you. It’s good news for me and it’s good news for my business. If I can reach people, connect with people and share my journey in a way that motivates and inspires, then I am happy. If people who read my blogs and book me to speak feel more motivated, take more action, make more sales and achieve more success then that’s awesome.

Take some time now to think about how you can be more authentic. How you can be more natural, more open and more sharing with your prospects, your clients, your friends and your family. When you do, you will experience some amazing connections and you will be someone that no-one else can emulate.

For more like this, do join my success newsletter free here.

Gavin Ingham Interviews Michael Portillo About How To Improve Your Presentations

Here are some tips on how to improve your presentations from Michael Portillo… Recently, I was speaking at the ISMM’s Successful Selling conference and was on stage after Michael Portillo. Chatting with him beforehand we were talking about the art of presenting and he shared a few of his personal thoughts about the critical importance of presenting for business and personal success and his philosophies on presenting. This was so interesting that I grabbed my Flip HD camera and shot a quick video which you can watch below.

Unfortunately, it was a little windy so incase you missed the odd bit, I had it transcribed both on the video and below. I am sure that you will find some presenting tips on how to improve your presentations in this video no matter how experienced you are. Enjoy!

Here I am with Michael Portillo. We’re going to have a little chat. I’m at the ISMM about to do the Successful Selling conference and Michael’s the keynote speaker this morning. A friend of mine was just doing a quick chat with Michael and one of the things that came out was the importance of presenting and success and, as my friend said to me, “I’ve never heard that in an interview before,” so what I wanted to do was grab a couple of tips from Michael about presenting and about how presenting has been successful for him in his career. So hello Michael, nice to meet you….

Very, very good to see you indeed… 

Michael, so tell me a little more about that… 

Well, I feel rather diffident because I don’t really know if I am a good presenter or not but when I present, I tend to operate, by the way, without notes. That’s partly because I do it all the time but I have a feeling that people really concentrate on what you’re saying if they’re not distracted by what your body’s doing, you’re not fiddling with bits of paper, you’re not fiddling with too many slides. I try to engage the audience, with my eyes. I look all the way around the audience and because I’m not using notes I have the capacity to do that. By the way, because I’m not using notes, I also have the capability to chop and change my material as I go along. So, if an audience is responding to something that I’m saying, I’ll give them a little bit more of it. If my jokes are going flat, I’ll cut short the number of jokes. I give myself a lot of flexibility. What I like to think is that I speak with conviction. I’ve chosen what I’m going to say, what I’ve decided to say is what I believe in; I think it’s truthful, genuine, and sincere. I think that’s absolutely vital to the message. And beyond that, well, of course I’ve had a lot of practice. I’ve been public speaking, and on television for many many years. I haven’t had training, which probably I should have done, so I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m sure if I went through training, I could be improved in all sorts of ways, but naturally, doing something repeatedly, testing it out with an audience, gives you a lot of feedback, gives you a lot of understanding about how you might want to adapt it in the future.

I always think there’s always something slightly stilted about somebody who walks up, puts their notes down, and then just talks from the notes. And I guess there’ll be people who are listening to this who will think, “Whoa, no notes! That’s gonna really freak me out. If I put my notes down, I’m gonna forget what to say, I’m gonna forget what I’m talking about, I’m gonna lose the thread of things.” What advice would you have for those people?

I would say, build up to it. I mean, the fact is that most of us say the same things again and again. I don’t mean we always make exactly the same presentation, but we have kind of modules in our head don’t we? You know, we’ve got an introductory piece, we’ve got a piece about a particular product, or a particular thought, or a particular idea, and most of what we say is actually putting these modules together. So as long as you’re dealing with these modules quite frequently, you’ll find that actually you do have them in your head. But by all means, have a bit of paper, which is just there for that panic moment, when you’re moving from thought one to thought two, you know, paragraph A to paragraph B. Just have it there so you know in a word or two what the next point is, but try not to use it and it’s like riding a bicycle of course… riding a bicycle without any support is terrifying when you begin, but afterwards you can’t imagine that you needed someone holding on to you.

I know you mention the panic moment there and I know I’ve had a few panic moments stood in front of groups. So Michael, would you be happy to share with us, have you had a panic moment? If so, can you tell us something about it?

Yeah, absolutely, funnily enough I had a panic moment quite recently. I went onto a stage to do a presentation and I just had a panic. I just felt the curtain come down. And I think luckily it has only happened to me once, but it was recent,  I was surprised by it. I said, “Do you know? I’m awfully sorry, I can’t remember what I came here to say.” I walked off stage and came back a minute later. And then it was all alright. But yes, it can happen. There’s no guarantee.

And what was the response to you saying that?

Well I think they were slightly embarrassed, then I think they were warm when I went back. You live to fight another day.

The world didn’t end and you got on with it, which I think is great advice. I think when people watch presenting, one of the things I talk about, is what differentiates a great presentation, from a ‘so-so’ presentation? So, not necessarily from your own skill set, or  yourself, but what presenters do you like? Who do you respect? Who do you admire? And what is it about them that you think, “Wow”?

Well, I think they never lose engagement with the audience. By the way, I find myself at a great disadvantage if I can’t see the audience. I did a speech last night where the audience was in the dark and my performance absolutely suffered. You know, I hadn’t realised they would not light the audience. Terrible. So you never lose your engagement with the audience, you always speak with passion. So the voice is going up and down, there’s variety of tone and pace, the arms are working with it. You’re probably not moving your feet too much, but the energy is coming out through your body. Probably the messages are limited in number and pretty clear. There’s got to be some humour in there. It probably comes out at unexpected times and it’s not a bad thing to tell people what you’re going to say and then say it and then tell them what you’ve said, so that they’re aways aware of the structure. People get a bit ‘panicky’ if they don’t know where the thing’s going. I’m about to make a speech that begins quite a long way from where it ends up and so I’ll have to tell them at the beginning the reason I’m beginning here, which is not where you’d expect, is because eventually I’ll come to where you expect me to be. 

Fantastic stuff. One final question for you, How important do you think the ability to present is, in today’s society, whether as an individual or in business?

Well, on a scale of 1-10, 10.

10! Fantastic. And why do you think that is?

Well, I think it’s because, you know, we are human beings and we relate to public human beings. And despite all the technology that is there intermediating between us, ultimately we want to hear a message, or we want to buy something, or we want to spend time, or we want to have a meal, or we want to make love to, or we want to marry a human being. And that’s why being able to express who you are, what you think, the idea you want to put across, the thing you want to sell, whatever it is, seems to be, absolutely, the most important thing of all.

I think it would be wrong of me, while I’ve got you here, not to ask you one sort of personal interest question because the thing with online video is people always want to know a little bit more about the person than just the straight stuff. So, out of interest, who for you is the most interesting person you’ve ever met and why?

Probably Nelson Mandela. He was just, well he’s still alive of course, he is so extraordinarily charismatic. I met him, this is a bit of a name dropping story, but he was the president of South Africa and I met him at a lunch, at which the Queen also attended. He was very funny, he made an excellent speech, told some excellent jokes about how he’d disgraced himself staying at Buckingham Palace and the Queen was there and it was very, very funny. But what I remember most of all was, we were in the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane and at the end of the lunch I was chatting to him. He was the President of South Africa, I was just just a fairly ordinary minister in the British Government, he took me by the arm into Park Lane, and HE led me out of the hotel. He was in my country, HE led me out of the hotel and I was standing in Park Lane, and he saw me to my car, and I thought, “Hey guys! I’m standing with Nelson Mandela! Can everyone see that I’m standing with Nelson Mandela?” What amazing charisma and magnanimity.

Fantastic. Michael, thank you so much. I know you’re going to go on stage in a moment but it’s really great of you to come out here and spend a little time chatting and so, thank you very much. Thank you very much. So there we go! Presenting, life, success, sales, business, Nelson Mandela, the Queen and of course, some incident going on that we will probably never know what that was. Thanks very much for paying attention and being here.