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April 15, 2021

Interview with George Catsi: Masterclass – The Authentic You

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George Catsi running Masterclass workshops in public speaking at Elements of Byron, with mandy Nolan

Masterclass – The Authentic You

Elements of Byron  |  27 & 28 July

Meeting Catsi on the Path to Authenticity

Ever wanted to be more comfortable in a speaking environment? Have you visions of yourself as an amazing powerful authentic speaker? It’s not unrealistic, it’s achievable, but for many the prospect of delivering in front of an audience renders them catatonic, or at the very least forces them to perform a caricature of what they think a speaker should sound like. What most people don’t realise is that no matter what the content, all they have to do is be themselves!

Dr George Catsi is a national award-winning performance writer, performer, comic, academic, and producer in film, theatre, health, and education. Starting out his career as a nurse George abides by his mantra that constant transformation is the key to a resilient life.

Along with Mandy Nolan, George is a co-presenter of The Authentic You, a 2-day masterclass for anyone who wants to be a better speaker.

Authentic often seems like an overused term, with its being used to sell everything from overseas holidays to soap. George believes that being authentic reveals a lot about us as a people trying to make sense in a media-dominated world.

‘Our messaging about issues, about people in political or influential positions, is fractured. We’ve lost sense of when someone is being ruthful, so we go looking for signs about someone and when they used the word authentic – either they are or they aren’t. There is a growing need to find people who appear to speak from a place of knowing and stand in a place of listening,’ says George.

Charisma is key. George’s PhD in Persuasive Performance revealed the integral role this had in someone’s impact in a speaking role.

‘A good speaker has this,’ says George. ‘But you don’t need to be tall, good looking, or any particular weight, gender, or colour. There are other things at play – such as connection, presence, comfort, and more.’

George admits that although his career has sent him on a public trajectory, he wasn’t a ‘natural performer’.

‘I did a lot of work in my 20s in improvisational performance that was great training and thinking on my feet. I got to be in front of people and make mistakes, and that was okay. Over time I realised audiences responded more to me as a culmination of honest expression than when I tried to construct some perceived sense of what to say, or how an academic would be. I’ve learnt to reduce the difference in how I present between every role I occupy, such that everything has become a natural expression of me.’

So why do so many speakers find ‘being yourself’ so difficult?

‘Because most people think they’re not enough, so they try to create an onstage persona that is someone else. Audiences know instinctively that this is not authentic, and they lose trust,’ says George.

Other mistakes people make according to George is ‘trying to deliver too much content so they rush or run out of time. They don’t look at the audience. They rely too heavily on technology or Powerpoint. Or they don’t know the content they are delivering well enough. An audience can feel this.’

George believes a masterclass like this isn’t just for professional speakers. But also ‘educators, artists, writers, and basically anyone who wants to find comfort in themselves being looked at and listened to in a public-speaking environment. It’s for people who want to develop trust that they can deliver the content of their talk in a way that comes from an authentic voice and look forward to speaking engagements, not curse the opportunity.’

This is the first time Dr George Catsi and Mandy Nolan will present The Authentic You: Convey, Convince, Command, a masterclass for people who want to become more powerful and engaging speakers.

This is a unique setting where two teachers with very different skill sets and approaches align to support participants towards personal excellence.

‘Mandy and I have had long conversations on what we see as being the traits of good speakers or presenters and realised we had very similar ideas. These were based around presence, authenticity, and connection. While our ideas are the same, we have different styles of presenting. This allows us to give the masterclass participants a range of skills they can work with. Mandy is a powerhouse of wit and speed, able to distil the mood of a room, the mood of a nation, in such a way that the audience is laughing, listening while also learning. I bring a strong commitment to improvisation skills that allow the speaker to be able to ride through any situation in a room with confidence. We are both committed to having the speaker be powerful and present – not just vehicles for the content they are trying to deliver,’ says George.

The Authentic You – at Elements of Byron on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July. For more detailed information email [email protected] and for tickets go to mandynolan.com.au/workshops.


[email protected] or mandynolan.com.au/workshops

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