Chapter 3 of The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, says a leader needs to have a clear sense of his/her own values.  You’re not trying to follow anyone elses values, or lead using someone else’s style — you have to discover your own voice and your own values.

This is highly relevant to public speaking, where you want to find your own authentic speaking style and your own message. You’re not trying to speak like Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, you’re trying to find the speaking style that is most comfortable to you.

Kouzes and Posner stress that you have to really believe in your values if you want others to espouse them as well.

“If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Once again, this is applicable to us as public speakers. We need to truly believe what we are saying, or people will not connect to us. You can always tell when someone is reading off a script that he/she doesn’t truly believe. The video doesn’t match the audio, so to speak. If you don’t believe what you are saying, you shouldn’t be saying it. It’s as simple as that. Find some part of the message you actually do believe and focus on that.