I see you over there you know. Hiding. In plain sight.

I hide, too. I hide from email. I hide from people. I’m also partial to the French Exit, where you just sneak away from the pack and jump in a Lyft so you can be home in bed watching SNL before anyone knows you’re gone.

To hide is to avoid risk, criticism, uncomfortable feelings.

But hiding also puts you at risk: You could miss opportunities, and connection, and growth. Even fun.

For a culture that prizes visibility above all else, we do a lot of hiding. Even on stage.

(I talked about it recently with Seth Godin on his FB Live, if you want to check it out.)

Here are three ways you’re hiding on stage and how to stand out instead:

1 | You’re hiding behind jargon.

No one likes jargon. It’s useful, sure, because it gives you shortcuts, often for processes or you do all the time. Jargon is a big green dumpster, the catchall for worn-out ideas. Boo. Boring.

2 | You’re hiding behind knowledge and information.

Data in a talk gives context. But your knowledge about a topic is not the talk itself. Your authority on stage comes from your unique idea, delivered with an artful and decisive blend of story and information that serve the communication of that idea.

3 | You’re hiding behind your bio.

Do you know how many people begin their time on stage by essentially reciting their LinkedIn profile? ALMOST ALL OF THEM. And how many people in the audience care where you got your degree? ALMOST NONE OF THEM.

When you’re on that stage, your job is to connect with your audience. And you do that by giving them content that matters to them first. Trust me, if you’re good, they’ll want to find out who you are.

It’s time to step out. Stop hiding. And the best way to do it? With good company. Great teachers. And a safe place to try.

No more hiding.

I happen to know a great place to stop hiding — my two-day, transformational event Tapped to Speak LIVE, April 4&5 in Boston. Here you get to learn and practice the craft of writing and delivering a stand-out talk, based on an idea that’s uniquely yours.

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