The future of high impact presenting – Mindfulness is the key

Man walking through open door

I believe that the future of high impact presenting and public speaking revolves around mindfulness.

My latest search for ‘presentation skills’ on Amazon yielded over 40,000 results.

Google trumped them with 961 million

– Keep your hands out of your pockets

– Don’t fidget

– Make good eye contact

These are just a few of the obvious tips you will find during your search. 

We actually all know what it takes to be a great speaker

The journey however begins far earlier than learning to use our vocal cords and moving meaningfully. The future of high impact presenting also doesn’t revolve around software, simulators and just smiling either.

It’s about spirit

Today it’s quite acceptable to talk about mind, body and spirit when it comes to our personal growth and development.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem quite so acceptable in business.

I’d like to challenge that

Spirit is that invisible and unspoken force that forms our attitude, presence and being.

It’s the mysterious element which animates us and paradoxically makes us all one, yet each, completely unique.

I believe that the future of high impact presenting involves bringing people closer together.

Helping people to connect

We live in a vast and complex universe inhabited by over 8 billion of us.

It seems to me that the only thing that scientists and theologians appear to agree on when it comes to the nature of the universe and existence, is that it’s all energy. 

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if the power of the human spirit was to be used through public speaking.

Uniting 8 billion people, rather than separate them even more?

Mindfulness holds the key to the future of high impact presenting

So where do you start? 

A great speaker is someone who:

Knows their subject inside out

– Researches and understands their audience

– Cares deeply about their audience and understands the full impact and consequence of their words

– Uses the full range of their voice, pitch, tone, tempo, rhythm, intonation and volume

– Crafts colourful and creative slides ( if they use them)

Uses eye contact well

– Makes powerful gestures 

– Tells stories

– Speaks with passion

– Owns the stage, yet leaves their ego at the front door

As you can see, it takes a great deal to be a good speaker and it all revolves around mindfulness.

– Lose the mask 

Many speakers have conditioned themselves to see their presentation as a performance. Their job is to impress the judges who are rating them. They don’t see a room full of human beings.

They see a polling station of experts getting ready to vote on how well they’ve performed. 

The paradox is that the audience wants to see the real you

Every speaker feels some level of nervousness or anxiety regardless of their experience.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to just walk up to the platform to speak openly and in a clear, heartfelt way embrace our audience without any angst?

Equally, wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to feel the desperate need to impress.

What’s stopping us?

It’s simply not our experience of life.

For many of us speaking in front of a group is synonymous with ridicule, judgment and pain.

When we were younger, a great number of us were strongly encouraged not to be ourselves. We were urged to focus a little more on conforming. 

Today we take to the podium and many of us sound the same

To lose the mask we have to first remember who we really are.

That is, before we learned to construct ourselves as the speaker.

None of us were born with the insecurities, perceived flaws and hang ups we have today.

We had to work really hard to get them

– Be still 

We each have thousands of thoughts every single day. Many of are recycled, repetitive thoughts with a great number that are also negative.

‘Who wants to listen to me?’

‘They’ll probably know more than me anyway’

‘I’m just not a good speaker’

Our job is to be still, close our eyes, breath and silence the noise.

It’s just mental turbulence that will calm itself as we become still.

– Just be 

When the time comes for you to present do whatever it takes to get to the venue and room you will be speaking in as early as you can. Make sure that no one else will be there. 

Spend as long as you need to just being in the room. 

You don’t need to do anything or think anything.

Just breathe and allow yourself to truly be in the room. 

 – Love your audience 

Love isn’t something you reserve exclusively for family; it’s a gift you can give to anyone. 

The great presenters feel a personal sense of connection with their audience.

They want to help them and share their passion for their message. 

If you love your audience, they will love you back

Craft your presentation in the mind-set of love, respect and appreciation.

See your audience as individuals who have hopes, dreams and aspirations.

They also have anxieties, fears and uncertainties just like you. 

See your audience as fellow human beings who are doing the best they know how to in the moment. 

Help them feel better than they did before they sat down

As you enter the room you will be presenting in, before you check out the AV, air conditioning or lighting, take a few moments to fill the room with love.

As your audience arrive, do exactly the same. I send them all personal thoughts and feelings of love. 

That’s a little deep for an article of presentation skills I know.

Before you dismiss it try it out for yourself and watch what happens

I read a blog recently by another presentations skills coach. He suggested that the as far as presenting is concerned ‘We’re in the process of evolving…and the final stage of our development is just around the corner’ – Simon Morton, ‘3 reasons to be cheerful about the future of presentations’

I don’t agree 

I believe that we are just beginning the journey.

We still have a very long way to go.

Some of the biggest and most successful brands in the world are still presenting in much the same way they were at least 10 years ago.

It’s time for a revolution not an evolution

That seismic shift does not however mean becoming a maverick to challenge the status quo without due mindfulness of the damage which may be caused. 

Mindfullness is the future of high impact presenting

The future of presenting rests firmly in our ability to authentically connect with each other.

That means creating a climate and culture where people look forward to learning from presentations. 

If you’d like to step into the future of high impact presenting.

– Book them onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get your team some excellent presentation training

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