The Power of Authenticity and Finding Your Unique Voice
Updated: Oct 6
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Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So welcome everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as I talk about four different types of freedom: financial, time, location, emotional, freedom. And my mission is to bring you education, information and bring you guests that are really out there on the cutting edge doing changing the world.
So today, we actually have a very interesting guest, her name is Barbara Kite, and she actually specializes in the area of drama and acting, and she's going to be talking about speaking, acting, she's a coach and mentor, and talking about your authentic self. So, Barbara, welcome.
Barbara Kite: Thank you. Pleasure to be here.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, I know, we were talking backstage. And I really, I think you have a lot to offer. Because, people are really scared to show up in today's world. And you taught you, you were talking about authenticity, and really just, I can sense the power in your words.
Barbara Kite: As I said to you earlier, I teach an acting class, and I've been in acting for a long time. And one of my acting students said, You should teach this to public speaking. And I thought, I don't see how that would work. Who needs this? But I found out that people are just as afraid as actors, are afraid to show up. Public speaking. And if they focus on the audience, or the person they're speaking to, in the back of the room. That takes care of it. They're not focusing on themselves. They're not watching, checking, judging, anticipating all that attention is not off of them. They're reacting to what they're getting. And that's all that matters. If you stay present in the moment, Sanford Meisner, a great acting coach, is present right now in front of people, talking to them, focusing on them. Being authentic, being yourself, who else you're going to be, you're going to try hard to be something you're not, it's gonna sound phony.
And then there are great stories, you have got to tell a good story. Nobody's gonna remember facts and figures. Nobody. Trust me. People walk away, they've written it down. They don't remember. But the story. Oh, I've had some great stories told, in presentations. Wonderful. If I had time, I'd maybe tell you one of them. But it supports your theme, it supports your message, especially if it's a personal story.
Very simply, I used to go visit my grandmother in the South. It was very hot as I walked down the street that she lived on. Through my sandals, I could feel the heat coming up the soles of my feet. And as I got to our house, I walked up the cranky stairs. And I looked in and there she was waving at me with her yellow apron on, a large woman, and behind her I saw my grandfather, she said shh, he wasn't feeling well.
So I saw what I was talking about, did you? Did you see what I was talking about? Well, if you did, then you understand you're not watching me. You're not focusing on me. You're focusing on what I give you, the story I give you. Now each story, each speech, each communication has to have a little anecdote or a little story, to support it, to support the message. And once it has that, you hear the story, you will remember the message. Most importantly. There are other things and I started to get into them. There are technical things, you're going to have to learn how to slow down. I had a person on Oregon Public Broadcasting who could not slow down. I had to spend days with her going stop, start, stop, start. People don't know what you know. You have to give them a pause to catch up.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: So I have a question for you. I get a lot of clients interested in public speaking. And I really like the idea that we were talking about backstage, where are you talking about, it’s not about you.
Barbara Kite: Right. It is not about you. Not even forgetting about yourself, it's realizing that the audience is not interested in you. They don't care about you! They want to see through you to themselves doing what you're talking about, and succeeding, it's all about them. So get out of your own way and let them see the things you're talking about the way I'm telling you. You can be vibrant, you can be authentic, you can tell a great story, you can do the different levels of speaking pitch, pace, power, pauses, over-articulation, the value of every word. You can learn how to do that and use it. And that is just training.
I mean, I know people go up there in front of other people and start speaking, but they talk very quickly, and they don't want any pauses. And they don't worry about what they're saying. And they don't realize that what they know, the audience doesn't know. And you have to pause, you have to let the audience catch up. They don't want to see you. They want to see through you, to themselves, doing and succeeding at what you're talking about. I think that's what you meant. Right?
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. And then one of the things that I want to point out to the listeners is, you can tell Barbara's enthusiasm, passion, and it's coming through her voice and her words and her energy. So especially for actors or public speakers, or thought influencers, energy and passion. That's what it is.
Barbara Kite: Absolutely. If you don't believe that, they won't believe it. If you don't feel great about it, why should they? You have to make that. In that short period of time you're on stage, you have to create that world for them.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: How do they do that?
Barbara Kite: How does the speaker do that? Well, the things that I've already mentioned to you all the attention is over there, if you notice someone nodding their head, you acknowledge it. If you notice somebody else doing something else, you are there listening to them. Sometimes you put a person in the back of the room, who you know needs to hear this, and will walk away with more information and excitement than they had when they could. And they may not even tell you about it. But there's someone you're speaking to who needs or wants this.
One thing I like for my clients to do is get a compliment file. Compliments you have had from people that have told you thank you for doing this. Thank you for talking to us about this. Thank you for the information. Not everybody does that. But once in a while you get them. And you forget that what you have to say is useful and important. I'm so glad that people get to learn how to be different in front of other people. Go out. Embrace energy in the room. I'm so glad, because some of them have some very important things to give to an audience.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: A lot of people talk about staying on topic. One of the things that clients talk to me about is wandering off topic, how do people fix that?
Barbara Kite: A piece of paper. You write down the three most important things. Mine are authenticity, storytelling, listening to the audience. If I go back to any one of those topics, and I look down to authenticity, I have a whole slew of information about that. Because I'm an expert in my field. And most of the people who are speaking are experts in their field. Two words, one word will remind you to go back to what you're saying. You look down, you go, storytelling. Okay, I can talk about sense memory, see, smell, taste touch. Hear it when you're telling the story, make it personal. I could go on forever.
You too can, if you write down the major words of your speech, and after that, it's off the cuff. You don't read it. You do not ever read speech. Because that's what it sounds like. And it just sounds like you're looking for the next word. And it sounds monotone and it kind of goes fast. And it doesn't say anything. No pauses, no anything, no emphasis on any words, and people are asleep.
I have walked on stage where I've opened it up by seeing that people are now about to go to lunch and they want to get out of there. And I'll get on there and I'll go [sings] What a great day it's been, what a great mood I’m in, I'm so glad you're all here. What do you need to do to connect to them? The energy goes out and you give yourself to them.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Do you have any secrets about getting comfortable and confident on stage?
Barbara Kite: Again, all the attention is on what you are talking about. And the people in that auditorium. Sometimes I have a successful person. One of my clients had a kid on stage in her imagination, who she had helped by making false diamonds. So the kid wouldn't have to work in diamond mines. And the kid had told her that summer, only two of my friends died. She's speaking on behalf of that child, she wants the audience to know, don't buy real blood diamonds, buy these diamonds. And she's speaking to somebody she's already convinced. They're in the back. They're listening. They need to hear this. This is not for you. It's to help somebody else. And if you're not helping, what are you? What are you on this planet for? I'm sorry. The only reason we're here is we're given gifts that we have to pass on. I'm lucky. I know what mine is. And most of the people I work with are appreciative of the gift that I can give them to speak up, speak up.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I like that. Another question. So I know you work with a lot of different clients. And this interview has been really interesting, because more just to point out, especially in the acting field, so why should people stop playing small and how can they use their voice?
Barbara Kite: You’re dead, if you're small. They just pass you over. Listen, if you want to go in a corner and die, do it. But you don't have a choice. If you've got something in you that is worth sharing, that is worth making, that you believe can make a difference in other people's lives, your obligation, your purpose demands that you do the very best you can, in finding out how to share it as best as you can. To help others to understand that that is what you have been given. It's necessary. It's the purpose. It's my purpose in life. I'd be bored or dead. I don't know which, probably both, if I didn't feel.
And I do an acting class. Every time I do an acting class. They go up there, they do their monologue, it's a little quiet. It's not as passionate. They're watching themselves. I go, tweak, Do this, do this. Focus on a person that really bothers you. I mean really bothers you. And it changes and then I listen to them as an audience member, I get in touch. And the reason I do acting is that I want everyone to know we're not alone. You notice somebody on stage, you identify with them. You can do this. Great playwrights write wonderful characters. If they can do this, I can do this.
I thought I was alone. Death of a Salesman. I thought I was alone. My father was the Death of a Salesman. And I go wow, I loved Tennessee Williams because of it. I think that was who wrote it. Anyway, I'm getting old, I'm forgetting things. It's to know that we're not alone. And that's one way, theater does that for you. And as a speaker, you can do that too. You can touch the places that you want to, go to help the kid who is out there in Africa and buy these diamonds. I'm not asking very much of you. Go buy that diamond ring that society told you you needed for your wedding. Go buy it, don't buy a real one. Because the other friends that this person has that are onstage with me and they’re eight, they're gonna die and you're responsible for it. Okay, you gotta shut me up because I can go on, preacher, that's what I am.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. This has been a very interesting interview, definitely very unique and I hope that listeners take away that you can use acting skills and your voice and story to become a thought influencer So, Barbara how can people contact you?
Barbara Kite: I wrote an ebook called Great Speakers Use Acting Skills. It's on my website, BarbaraKite.com. All of this information and more is in there. You can help yourself to it. It’s $10. I'm happy to talk to anybody. And what more can I say? I hope everybody just believes what they have to say. It's not about them. And what they have to say is important for other people. It's a gift, you're giving a gift.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Excellent. Well, thank you so much. And all of your resources will be included in the show notes. And we look forward to hearing about your success.
Barbara Kite: Well, thank you. And thank you so much for making this easy. You did a great job. Thank you.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.