8 Principles of Mindful Presenting & Public Speaking

man meditating on roof top

The fear of public speaking and presenting has afflicted people all over the world for centuries. It remains a very real and troublesome issue still today; the solution is mindful presenting.

The ability to speak with confidence, clarity and presence is essential to our success not only in today’s workplace but across all areas of life. Despite its significance, it remains something that vast numbers of people dread doing.

The issue is exacerbated by the unfortunate reality that the average business presentation today is boring. It’s hard to find the motivation to present while you hold the belief that:

– You are being judged and your reputation and credibility is at risk.

– Many people don’t want to be in the room because they’ve experienced so many dull presentations before.

These 8 powerful principles of mindful presenting and public speaking will serve you well in challenging both of these feelings.

  1. Perception

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Wayne Dyer

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if you change the way you see things through mindful presenting.

– Focusing on your strengths as a presenter rather than your limiting beliefs and bad habits. We all have strengths; we just have to look for them.

– Seeing your audience as people who are no different to you; someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father.

– Focusing on how you can help your audience and the difference you can make to their lives rather than showing them how good you are at your job.

– Seeing the opportunity to connect with people and make them feel something in a world where so many people feel so numb.

  1. Perfection

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”  Leo Tolstoy

The quest for perfection in public speaking is a major source of anxiety.

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if you believed the truth of mindful presenting:

– Nobody wants to see a slick, polished, memorised presentation.

– The world is crying out for authenticity.

– Your audience want you to tell them something they don’t already know in a way that you would tell anyone else you cared about.

– If you’re trying hard to be perfect you won’t enjoy it and your audience won’t enjoy it either.

  1. Inspiration

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

Maya Angelou

Before you sit down to craft your presentation ask yourself two questions:

– When was the last time you felt truly inspired by a presenter and their content; what was it that made you feel that way?

– If you’ve never felt inspired by a presentation what was missing and what would it have taken for you to feel that way.

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if through mindful presenting you:

– Created a conversation rather than a presentation.

– Ditched the bullet points and text and made it visual.

– Spoke with honesty, empathy and passion.

  1. Preparation

“90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.”   Somers White

Far too many presenters don’t prepare effectively, they think they do but they really don’t. Simply reading your own slides or notes isn’t enough.

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if through mindful presenting you:

– Internalised your message; not memorise it. In other words, you understood your message so clearly that if you lost all of your notes you could still speak. Imagine if you didn’t have notes or slides to support you, instead you had belief in and clarity of your message

– Practiced and listened to the vocal expression of your message; how you actually sound.

– Practice and listened to the non-verbal expression of your message. In other words, how you look and how you move when you speak.

  1. Personalisation

“Anything you tell your audience which isn’t personal and relevant to them is noise.” Mindful Presenter

The only thing worse than listening to a boring presenter is listening to content which is of no real interest or value to you.

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if:

– Everything you said to them was clearly personal and relevant to them as individuals.

– They ever stopped you in your tracks to ask, ‘Why are you telling me that and why should I care’, that you have a really good answer.

– Every slide, image, number and fact you put up on a screen was relevant and meaningful to them in some way.

– Everything you shared was of value to everyone in the room.

  1. Contemplation

“What we think, we become.”  Buddha

The greatest gift we have as presenters is the gift of consciousness and our ability to think.

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if you:

– Contemplated on how far you’ve come, everything you’ve achieved so far and the things that inspire and empower you to succeed.

– Reminded yourself that the reason you have been chosen to present is because you know something that your audience don’t know but need to know.

– Thought about how you can find, value and express your true voice with confidence.

– Consider the lasting impression you want to leave on your audience. In other words, how you want them to feel when they return to their car or their desk.

  1. Projection

“To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan…believe…act!”  Alfred A. Montapert

Close your eyes and imagine every detail about what a successful presentation looks and feels like.

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if through mindful presenting you:

– Visualised giving a successful presentation long before you stand to speak.

– Saw your audience nodding and smiling at you in your mind before you’ve uttered a word.

– Present a clear image in the minds of your audience of how the future will look for them if they listen and embrace your ideas.

– Paint a picture for them of how their lives will be easier, better or happier as a result of your presentation.

  1. Connection

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”  John Lennon

Imagine how you would feel about presenting and the impact you would have on your audience if through mindful presenting  you:

– Stopped focusing on presenting to them and shifted all of your energy to connecting with them instead.

– Remember that we whilst we are all looking for and respect logic, we are emotional beings.

– Craft your presentation in the knowledge that we can understand something intellectually but what really counts is how we feel about it.

– Adopt the mantra of mindful presenting; ‘connecting is everything’.

Anyone can present, with varying levels of confidence and clarity. In today’s incredibly fast paced and rapidly changing world, presenting isn’t enough.

Following the 8 mindful principles will help you to connect with your audience, lead change and be remembered for all of the right reasons.

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If this article has inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are you may want to take a look at our presentation training and presentation coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.

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