The New World of Public Speaking & Presenting

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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 that will make their lives better, easier, happier or positively different in some way.

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 again in the:

– Monthly senior management team review 

 – Quarterly update

 – Team meeting 

 – Board meeting

Project review

What is mindful presenting?

I’m asked often asked what mindful presenting 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 attended:

– 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?

What did you do with the information you gave up your valuable time to listen to?

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 few decades alone:

– Technology

– Education

– Medicine

– Transport

– Engineering

– Psychology

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  – that’s the old way of presenting

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

In the old world, presenters immediately turned on their laptops and started typing. 

In the new world, 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

In the old world, presenters shared the data and detail first, leaving the audience wondering whether they were in the right room and what could be so important.

In the new world, presenters 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 

In the old world, presenters focused largely on facts and data, often designed to impress their audience and show how hard they have worked. In the new world, presenters understand 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

In the old world, presenters often held the belief that the more complex the message is, the more knowledgeable they will appear. They used jargon, text heavy slides and their presentations were far too long. 

In the new world, presenters keep it simple by using clear and powerful headlines, compelling images and makes sure everyone ‘gets it.’

They subrcribe to the idea that ‘less is more’.

5. Me v you? 

In the old world, presenters told their audience everything that they as the speaker wanted their audience to know and hear; after all it’s their show. 

In the new world, presenters are only interested in what their audience wants and needs to hear to be able to make a difference and help them to move forward. 

6. Reading v impact

In the old world, presenters read their slides out aloud to their audience. That’s why they wrote so much on them; it’s their script to help them to remember what to say to their audience. 

In the new world, presenters never, ever read 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. They never make their audience read slides either.

7. Practicing v internalising 

In the old world, presenters believed that they could just run through their presentation a couple of times beforehand and if it made sense to them, then it would be fine for their audience. 

In the new world, presenters do 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 we leave our notes on the train or the screen packs up, we could still speak.

8. Arriving v being

In the old world, presenters believed that once they have built their slides or written their script, they could just turn up and say what they had to say. Once they checked the audio and visuals they dived straight into their presentation because they just wanted to get it done. 

In the new world, presenters also get 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

In the old world, presenters often made judgments about their audience. If someone yawned, whispered to the person sitting next to them or checked their phone, they labelled them as bored or uninterested. 

In the new world, 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

In the old world, presenters often held the perspective that because they’ve done the work, their job is to now ‘speak it’ as quickly as possible. 

In the new world, presenters slow down. They take regular moments to pause, breathe and allow themselves and their audience to think

11. Dashing v staying

In the old world, presenters often couldn’t wait to get straight back to work once they finished speaking. Sometimes they even sneaked out unnoticed. 

In the new world, presenters 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 their audience after the presentation, to answer personal questions and clarify points.

After they have leave the venue, they follow up with their audience and they always fulfil a promise quickly. In other words, if they promise to send them something, they make sure that they do.

12. Corporate v credible

In the old world, presenters often believed that to be an effective presenter they simply had to become the ‘corporate spokesperson’. When they stood to speak you may not have recognised the person you knew for years or just had a coffee with. 

In the new world, presenters don’t try to be someone else or act their way through the presentation. They speak their truth knowing exactly who they are, with the pure intention of giving the best of themselves and connecting with their audience.

13. Head v heart 

In the old world, many presenters spent more time in their heads than with their audience. They were creatures of habit, who hadn’t really taken time out to check what they were thinking and feeling and how they could best change to help their audience. 

In the new world, presenters pays attention. They acknowledge their thoughts, feelings and reactions and manage them appropriately. 

14. Objective v journey 

In the old world, presenters were often focused on the ‘end game’ and result. They worked hard; just wanted to be liked, get what they came for and to get out as quickly as possible. 

In the new world, presenters  are 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 a phrase 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 definitely achievable and within everyones reach.

It takes time, focus, committment and energy.

This isn’t an article about perfection, it’s about impact

Public speaking and presenting is challenging and mindfulness isn’t particularly easy. Perhaps that’s why 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. 

Are you equipped for the new world of public speaking and presenting?

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ― Eric Hoffer

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

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