Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When I look back to my first big presentations I now see why they weren’t very successful. Like many people giving technical presentations I was totally absorbed by the content design. I know realise, with the benefit of having talked to numerous audiences (small, large and huge) that I what I needed to do was work on my mindset. Let me give you the POWERful framework I’ve developed.
Presence of mind-creating a mental connection with your audience. This can be achieved using questions everyone can recognise and respond to: “Have you ever had to make a difficult decision?” Creating mental images is also effective. “The heat of Southern California! As a child there was nothing to compare with the fourth of July! Even now I can smell the sizzling barbeque, taste the luscious ice cream…
Mental connection with your audience is often ignored. I’ve seen many corporate presenters get straight into the facts and statistics and fail to build rapport with their audience. We need time to allow us to connect. By being present in mind, we are effectively priming our audience to be receptive to what we about to tell them.
Presence of body. As the presenters we can use our natural authority, to create anchors. Move left and then discuss a wonderful holiday experience: your audience will come with you and have happy thoughts. Move right and talk about an unfair situation: the audience will be with you possibly feeling indignant. Every time you move to those same places, you can recreate the same emotions in your audience. Make your movement purposeful.
Presence of voice. Our voices can provide emotional variety to our stories and help us convey our message. To make the most of your speaking and storytelling you need to vary your tone and inflexion. For example, when talking about a near-miss in traffic and a romantic evening with a loved-one your tone will be different. When you talk about a business success versus a difficult situation that needs careful handling your tone and inflexion will vary. Rehearse your presentation and listen to yourself carefully. Is your tone etcetera appropriate?
I believe it is important to own your mindset, own your stories and own the relationship you develop with the audience. With these three in place you’ll become a more confident presenter. Owning our mindset means identifying and understanding what triggers the behaviours that under-mind our performance. By taking responsibility for our mental state we can own our nerves, rather than our nerves owning us. When we own our stories and our nerves we can see presenting as conversation. Once we do this we can begin to own our relationship with our audience.
What Is Your Purpose?
Discovering the purpose in speaking can make good presenters great! We come to life and become engaging when talking about what we are beyond passionate about! Being drawing out your purpose by questioning yourself:
- What did you want to be when you were were growing up?
- If you had all the money you need, what would you do with your time?
- What do you choose to talk to those closest to you?
These questions will get you on the right path to discover your purpose!
Evolve Your Thinking
Evolved thinking begins when you understand the reality that, when they hear your stories, members of your audience will have an emotional response. Equally important is recognising that we are emotionally impacted by the stories we tell ourselves. We undermine ourselves with our self-talk about how we will feel in front of our audience and how we will perform.
We can control our self-talk (internal state) by simply changing the script. Our internal voice may say “I always feel nervous speaking to an audience”. We need to believe that we’re the programmers of our own minds. Evolved thinking gives us the power to upgrade our internal programme. We can change the script to: “I am confident and I will make a positive impact on my audience”.
In the world of athletics people use re-imagination/visualisation to help them succeed. Our brains don’t easily differentiate between actual memories and those we’ve re-imagined. Repeatedly visualising your success in a situation will change you. Re-imagining yourself as a successful presenter, delivering brilliantly will give you the edge you need. They’ll also give you a sense of familiarity that you need to succeed when you present to your real, live audience.
Re-Imagining yourself is the final culmination of POWERful presenting. I hope this framework will provide what you need to make all your presentations successful and your audiences happy.