Fakin’ It

 “I’ve just been fakin’ it,
 I’m not really makin’ it.
 This feeling of fakin’ it–
 I still haven’t shaken it.”
 – Paul Simon, from the song, “Fakin’ It”

In Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking, he tells his readers that there are four things which are essential to becoming a good speaker. One of them is to “Act Confident.” He states “To develop courage when you are facing an audience, act as if you already had it.” He goes on to say “…look your audience straight in the eyes, and begin to talk as confidently as if every one of them owed you money…Imagine that they have assembled there to beg you for an extension of credit.”

Wow. There’s just so many things I hate about this advice.

Before I pounce upon this strategy with teeth bared, let me say that I understand its appeal. First, fake it, then you might make it. You might fool yourself into actually becoming confident and assured by acting as if you are. Or, at least you might feel more comfortable if you think no one can tell just how nervous you really are.

It’s that old adage, “Fake it until you make it.” But when it comes to self-expression, public speaking and performance, this adage stinks.

Let me tell you why.

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