Authenticity Supersedes Script Reading

Between you and me, I dislike the word authenticity. It is worn out and many undeserved types wear the badge and shouldn’t.

But I couldn’t come up with a word more appropriate for Will Phillips, the forthright young man from Arkansas who refused to recite the daily “Pledge of Allegiance” in his classroom. I missed this story that went viral early in 2010 – my apology to those for whom this is stale news…

Will’s issue is that the pledge calls for equality and justice for all and until there really is equality for all he won’t be a hypocrite and participate in the ritual of reciting it. Good on you Will, I’m in your court. Huevos at his young age, clearly articulating his disagreement to status quo.

And I digress. My reason for this musing is to share that it is possible to read a script and still enrapture your audience. I couldn’t take my eyes and ears off of this clip of Will accepting the 2010 GLAAD award.

Many of us are required to present from a script because we don’t have time to practice or it is important that we recite stats with precision. But do your audience a favour, if you love your job and feel privileged to take centre stage, speak from your heart – from your (authentic) real self.

Will Phillips’ Acceptance Speech at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards

*GLAAD – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation – Words and Images Matter


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Janice Tomich is the founder of Calculated Presentations, a company dedicated to bringing out speaker’s stories to influence change. Janice coaches professionals, entrepreneurs, TED and TEDx speakers. She is a champion for equal representation by a diverse pool of presenters for all speaking events. Follow Janice on Twitter @janicetomich, on Facebook, on LinkedIn and subscribe for newsletter updates.

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