Welcome to the new world of public speaking and presenting.
Mindful presenting is the future of high impact communication and business presenting. Today, more than ever, we need to present our ideas with confidence, clarity, presence and impact.
Every day, in businesses across the globe, people sit attentively in the hope that the speaker will tell them something they don’t already know. Mindful presenting equips us to present to audiences in a way they aren’t often connected with.
It won’t be long at all before you find yourself presenting or being presented to in the:
– Monthly senior management team review
– Quarterly update
– Team meeting
– Board meeting
– Project review
What is mindful presenting?
It’s the key to high impact public speaking and presenting.
I’m asked often asked what mindfulpresenting is and why it’s any different to ‘normal’ presenting . When I explain, the next questions is often, if it’s so great then why doesn’t everyone do it?
Cast your mind back to one of the most recent business presentation you have attended:
– What do you remember?
– How much do you remember?
– What did you feel the moment the presenter finished speaking?
– How did you feel when you returned to your desk or car?
At Mindful Presenter we believe that after a typical business presentation, many people will forget most of what they heard by the time the get back to their car or desk.
At best they may feel indifferent.
It’s a whole new world
The world has changed radically in the last 3 decades alone:
Everything has changed, apart from the way many professionals speak and present to each other in business.
In many of the biggest, most successful and influential brands in the world, highly creative, intelligent and talented professionals are still:
– Reading slides fraught with bullet points, text and data
– Speaking in a monotone voice
– Leaving fellow professionals feeling bored, numb, indifferent or disinterested
It doesn’t have to be that way
Mindful presenting is the future of high impact public speaking and presenting
It’s a way of:
– Speaking with purpose, power and humility
– Adding value and making a difference each time you speak
– Connecting with your audience emotionally as well as intellectually
– Finding and valuing your true voice
– Speaking with confidence, clarity and impact
– Using your voice effectively with the courage to challenge the status- quo and lead real and positive change
The following thoughts will give you some insight into mindful presenting, although I hasten to add that the answers lay in the experiential journey, rather than a list of points.
1. Laptop v mind
The mediocre presenter immediately turns on the laptop and starts typing.
The laptop is the last thing that gets turned on by the mindful presenter. Mindful presenting involves opening our minds first. Finding the time and space to just be present, think and feel; long before populating templates.
2. Process v clarity
The mediocre presenter shares the data and detail first, leaving the audience wondering whether they are in the right room and what could be so important.
The mindful presenter makes it clear from the start why they are all there and why they should care. Their audience knows quickly how the presenter can help and make a difference to their lives and what they are required to do to see the benefits.
3. Logic vs Emotion
The mediocre presenter focuses on facts and data, often designed to impress their audience and show how hard they have worked. The mindful presenter understands that we are emotional beings and that our feelings often over-ride logic. They deliver the facts, data and evidence but do so in a way that triggers the audience’s emotions to help them to feel and remember the facts.
4. Complexity v simplicity
The mediocre presenter holds the belief that the more complex the message is the more knowledgeable they will appear. They use jargon, text heavy slides and their presentations are far too long.
The mindful presenter keeps it simple by using clear and powerful headlines, compelling images and makes sure everyone ‘gets it.’
The subrcribe to the idea that ‘less is more’.
5. Me v you?
The mediocre presenter tells their audience everything that they as the speaker want their audience to know and hear; after all it’s their show.
The mindful presenter is only interested in what the audience wants and needs to hear to be able to make a difference and help them to move forward.
6. Reading v impact
The mediocre presenter reads the slides. That’s why they wrote so much on them; it’s their script to help them to remember what to say to their audience.
The mindful presenter never, ever reads slides. They know exactly what they want to say and every slide has been very carefully designed to help the audience receive the message with greater clarity and impact.
7. Practicing v internalising
The mediocre presenter believes that they can run through their presentation a couple of times beforehand and if it makes sense to them, then it will be fine for their audience.
The mindful presenter does everything they can to make their content a part of themselves and so they spend time rehearsing.
Not memorising, just rehearsing.
They know their content very well. Most importantly, they are absolutely clear on their message.
They ensure that everything they craft and the way the way they deliver their message will be of significance to their audience.
Mindful presenting is about internalising our message. That’ means, if they left their notes on the train or the screen packed up, they could still speak.
8. Arriving v being
The mediocre presenter believes that once they have built their slides or written their script they can just turn up and say what they have to say. Once they have checked the audio and visuals they get straight into their presentation because they just want to get it done.
The mindful presenter also gets to the venue early to check the AV but they do much more. Where the situation allows, they spend time just absorbing the room. They stand for a few minutes from where they will be speaking and then take time to sit in a few of the audience’s seats to see the room from their perspective.
Once they have made friends with the AV team, they spend a few minutes meditating before the audience arrives, to clear their head and create a safe place. They then meet and greet as many of the audience as they can.
Mindful presenting is about ‘being’ before speaking.
9. Assumptions v truth
Mediocre presenters will often make judgments about their audience. If someone yawns, whispers to the person sitting next to them or checks their phone they label them as bored or uninterested.
Mindful presenters recognise their audience as human beings first and foremost.
They understand human behaviour and accept that occasionally someone may do something that may make them appear a little disinterested but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are.
Unless the whole room are behaving in similar ways they don’t jump to conclusions.
10. Speaking v pausing
The mediocre presenter’s perspective is that because they’ve done the work, they don’t need to think before they speak and that includes answering questions.
The mindful presenter thinks before they speak, especially when it comes to answering questions. They know that its best if they take a few moments to really think about the question and how they want to answer it.
Throughout the presentation itself, they take regular moments to pause, breathe and allow themselves and their audience to think.
11. Dashing v staying
The mediocre presenter can’t wait to get straight back to work once they have finished speaking. Sometimes they will even sneak out unnoticed.
The mindful presenter knows it’s not finished the moment they’ve answered the last question. They make a point of spending as long as they can with the audience after the presentation, to answer personal questions and clarify points.
After they have left the venue, they follow up with their audience and they always fulfil a promise quickly. In other words, if they promised to send them something, they make sure that they do.
12. Corporate v credible
The mediocre presenter believes that to be an effective presenter you have to become the ‘corporate spokesperson’. When they stand to speak you may not recognise the person you have known for years or just had a coffee with.
The mindful presenter doesn’t try to be someone else or act their way through the presentation. They speak their truth knowing who they are, with the pure intention of giving the best of themselves and connecting with their audience.
13. Head v heart
The mediocre presenter spends more time in their heads than with their audience. They are creatures of habit, who haven’t really taken time out to check what they are thinking and feeling and how they can best change to help their audience.
The mindful presenter pays attention. They acknowledge their thoughts, feelings and reactions and manage them appropriately.
14. Objective v journey
The mediocre presenter is focused on the ‘end game’ and result. They have worked hard; just want to be liked, get what they came for and to get out as quickly as possible.
The Mindful presenter is even more interested in the journey than the result. They work hard to stay present moment by moment. They achieve that by breathing, remaining conscious about their words, actions and reactions.
‘Easier said than done’
That’s the term we hear every week in our workshops and coaching sessions. It’s true of course but isn’t everything easier said than done?
I’m mindful of the fact that some people may consider this article as incurable and unrealistic optimism.
What I’m suggesting isn’t easy but it is achievable.
It takes time, focus, a great deal of committment and energy.
This isn’t an article about perfection, it’s about impact
Public speaking and presenting is challenging and mindfulness isn’t easy, which is why I believe we haven’t seen a great deal of it being used in business presentations over the last decade. The world is changing though and when it comes to communication, attention spans and the way we connect with fellow human beings we are learning more each day.
For now, it’s our belief, that self-awareness and presence are two of the fundamental keys to happiness and success. Given that they are the two key elements most of us continue to search for, when it comes to connecting in business, mindfulness can contribute a great deal.
We owe it to our colleagues, customers, company and ourselves to remember that when it comes to public speaking and presenting, connecting really is everything.
If you need help with public speaking and presenting in ‘the new world’:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
Image Courtesy of: istockphoto.com
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