Mindful Presenting offers far more than the key to speaking with confidence, presence and impact.
Comnunicating in a way which is clear, memorable and compelling is just the start. The original premise of mindful presenting was to equip professionals to connect with their audience emotionally as well as intellectually. The clarity of this intention has led to individuals and organisations all over the world connecting far more impactfully through presence, empathy and the power of stories.
A decade on, it’s clear that the benefits of mindful presenting extend themselves way beyond the meeting room.
Here are 5 powerful reasons why I believe that mindfulness in presenting is not only the most important skill in the workplace but in every other aspect of life too.
1. It reduces stress and anxiety
Mindfulness is a mental, emotional, and physiological state achieved by enhacing our awareness of the present moment. It involves creating the space and consciousnness to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings with greater compassion. With our attention on empathy rather than fear and judgement we become better placed to think and respond differently.
One of the major causes of stress and anxiety most of us face is worrying about the outcome of events long before they even begin. For many people the mere thought of presenting can create a state of high anxiety. Here are just of few of the countless fearful thoughts many people experience.
‘Will I remember everything?’
‘What if I freeze?’
‘What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?’
Mindful presenting isn’t about banishing those thoughts because they are all possibilities. It’s about noticing them in a way that allows us choose our attitude in the way we experience and respond to them.
Negative and unhelpful thoughts aren’t exclusive to public speaking and presenters; we all experience them across many areas of our lives.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if we could respond to them with greater emotional intelligence rather than automatically reacting to them the way we may have always done?
If we can learn how to be truly present in the room with our audience, imagine what would happen if we could take that level of presence into other areas of our lives as well.
If we are able to reduce stress and anxiety when presenting, we can do the same across all areas of life.
2. You get to enjoy the journey
There are many reasons people can suffer from public speaking anxiety.
A common one is our ego’s drive to impress our audience by showing them how clever, creative and good we are at our jobs. This often results in us dumping as much data and knowledge as we can onto our unsuspecting audience. This may look and feel impressive to us as presenters, although, it offers nothing but information overload for our audience.
Mindful presenting champions an entirely different approach; it focuses on the journey presenters take their audience on. With that intention, the presenter get’s to enjoy the journey as well. In her article, ‘You Can Learn to Enjoy Public Speaking. Here’s How’, author, Fia Fasbinder writes, ‘An invitation to speak–to a TED audience, a board of directors, or a Rotary Club–gives you a handful of moments to enrich the lives of others.’
Mindful presenting creates a platform which allows us to enjoy the journey ourselves as well as enriching the lives of others. It creates laser like clarity, helping presenters to understand exactly what their message is and how it will help to make their audience’s lives better, easier or happier.
Our increased ablity to appreciate the the journey with greater awareness through mindful presenting helps us to apply the same of level consciousness through life.
3. You stand out from the crowd
We each get to choose between whether we follow the status-quo in presenting the same way everyone else does or to stand out from the crowd.
Following the crowd is easy, the world if full of people doing that. It may be safe and comfortable but in the world of mindful presenting it’s regarded as boring. Mindful presenting doesn’t subcribe to following the leader, it is the key to leadership. Every presentation is an opportunity to lead, influence and inspire.
I believe it was John Maxwell who said, “You cannot be the same, think the same and act the same, if you hope to be successful in a world that does not remain the same.”
The world is changing and mindfulness offers us a key to living and leading more effectively in this world of change. In his article, ‘How Mindfulness Can Help You Navigate Change’, writes: ‘How does mindfulness help you manage change—and even flourish under it? You can’t stop change but you can learn to manage uncertainty. With mindfulness, you can learn to react to uncertainty with acceptance and become more aware of what is actually taking place—your emotions and reactions included.’
Standing out from the crowd can be helpful in many other aspects of life too; not just presenting.
4. You get to make the impossible possible?
Mindful presenting is about possibilities and opportunities.
It encourages and empowers people to adopt a ‘can do’ mind-set by constantly looking at how to make the seemingly impossible become possible. Mindfulful presenters don’t see obstacles; they see challenges and opportunities.
As well as helping us to become powerful, high impact presenters a practice of mindfulness can also help to:
Be more creative
Make better decisions
Have greater influence
Improve our health
The benefits of mindfulness impact every area of our lives.
5. You get to enjoy the moment
If the idea of living life a little more mindfully appeals to you, my recommendation is that you start small. Forget about presenting and speaking in public for a moment. Practice just being in the moment in some of the smallest areas of life that many of us take for granted.
– When you are in the shower make a conscious choice to be completely in the shower, mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Feel the spray and warmth of the water on your skin, the smell and texture of your shampoo and shower gel. Notice how good it feels really being in the shower with nothing more than the experience of cleaning your body. It’s easy to be in the shower in body but not in mind; in other words, solving a problem at work, working out how to pay a bill, or replaying last night’s argument.
– When you are brushing your teeth take the time to really notice the feel of the brushes on your teeth. The movement of your arms as you brush; the sound of toothbrush and the taste of the toothpaste. If nothing else, we owe it to our teeth to pay them a little more attention; they work so incredibly hard for us every day.
– When you are eating make a point of looking closely at every mouthful, smelling it and feeling the tastes and textures on your tongue before you swallow. You will be amazed at how incredible something as small and as simple as a raisin feels, smells and tastes if you take the time to notice.
– On your busy commute to work try to tune in to how you are feeling and focus on your breathing for a minute or two. Many people will have done a day’s work answering emails before they even get to their desk. Some are busing scrolling Facebook trying to fathom out why everyone else is having more fun than they are. Others of course may be simply battling their way through ‘Candy Crush’ oblivious to the world around them. Try putting your phone away for a few minutes and become aware of each breath and notice how you feel.
– If you’re like me and you live in the U.K, if the sun ever comes out again try this; take your shoes off and walk barefoot on some grass for a few minutes. Walk very slowly, very consciously and notice how every single step feels.
Mindful presenting is the most powerful gift we each have to enable us to speak with confidence, eloquence and impact.
The benefits of being more mindful extend way beyond the meeting, board or conference room when you are presenting. It can also enable us to see things more clearly, to notice our thoughts, feeling and behaviours and to connect more effectively with ourselves before we begin to do so with others in every aspect of life.
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