What is mindful presenting and why does it matter?
Imagine the following scene
It’s Friday morning and it’s been a long and exhaustive week. but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In a few hours you’ll be driving home away from the noise, the pressure, the stress and the sameness. It’s the only thought that’s keeping you going.
Moments into a lucid image of yourself flopping onto your sofa you are interrupted by another.
This one is of your boss
She graciously acknowledges how busy you are.
In her next breath, she asks you to make an important presentation to the management team on her behalf on Monday morning. Apparently, ‘something’s come up’.
Before that moment you lived in the belief that mindfulness was something reserved for the lucky few who had the time to sit quietly on their own meditating. Now you realise that you can be far more mindful than you ever gave yourself the credit for.
In that moment, you become aware of what you are thinking and what you are feeling.
– How on earth am I going to be ready for this in time?
– Why me anyway?
– Doesn’t she know how busy I am?
– I’m an awful presenter
– This is going to be a disaster
– Angry that my boss doesn’t recognise how busy I am.
– Fed up because it’s just ruined my weekend
– Nervous because I’m not a good presenter
– Anxious because I just know it’s going to go horribly wrong.
Is that mindfulness?
It is if you define mindfulness as, ‘The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something’.
If you subscribe to the perspective that mindfulness is, ‘Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally’, it’s probably the non-judgmental part that lets you down.
I’m a huge champion of the latter definition but I’m also grounded in realism
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a way in which you are always ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.’
Personally, I think it’s a gargantuan human challenge to do so
I love the idea that mindfulness represents the inherent human challenge and value of non-judgmental presence. Recognising the size of the challenge, I’m drawn to the baseline premise of mindfulness as being a high level of consciousness and awareness.
This sound relatively simple in intellectual terms but it’s still not necessarily so easy in practice.
Research tells us what most of us already know intuitively.
We each have a vast number of thoughts every day
Many of our thoughts are very similar to each other and a great number are often negative.
It seems to me that mindfulness is the key to a taking ourselves off of ‘auto-pilot’.
It’s the key to living more consciously, helping us to manage the repetitive and negative thoughts.
What is Mindful Presenting?
When we are presenting, our audience want the facts, data, knowledge and insights.
They want something else too. We call it mindful presenting.
They want the information gift wrapped
In other words, they want it all wrapped up in a way that is totally relevant and meaningful to them.
The data has to be crafted and delivered mindfully. In a way that will make a tangible difference to their personal or professional lives.
If it’s not completely relevant, it’s recieved as ‘noise’.
Think of as mindful presenting as a powerful filter
In terms of public speaking and presenting it filters and removes the ‘noise’.
Mindful presenting filters:
– The unhelpful noise in our minds
– Unecessary noise our audience hears and sees
The noise in our minds
It’s not new; it’s a very familiar voice:
– I’m an awful presenter
– This is going to be a disaster
– What if they don’t like what I have to say?
– I’m worried that I’ll forget what to say
– What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to?
– They will see how nervous I am
The noise our audiences minds
Perhaps you’ve experience this during a presentation you sat through:
– What on earth has this got to do with me?
– Why do they keep saying the same thing over and over again?
– Is this about them or me?
– So what, why should I care?
– Couldn’t they have just sent me this in an email?
– Am I even in the right room?
– I really don’t have time for this.
Mindful presenting is the solution
Our first challenge as presenters is to have good answers to all of these thoughts and questions.
Mindful presenting provides the platform for this level of awareness. All of our training and coaching is designed to help people to challenge and overcome these unhelpful thoughts.
Mindful presenting focuses on helping presenters to build confidence, presence and impact.
It creates the consciousness to see clearly that if your content isn’t clear, rich and purposeful, it’s just, more ‘noise’.
At the heart of mindful presenting there is a compelling belief. It’s the belief that your presentation is all about your audience; not you.
With the highest level of clarity of what you want your audience to think, do and feel, you focus on connecting rather than presenting.
Mindful presenting creates the space for you to slow down and calm down
In the process, you become more aware of who your audience really are and how you can help them. It allows you to learn a great deal about yourself too.
Why it matters
Despite popular belief, your audience don’t want to see and hear a slick, well-polished and rehearsed speaker.
They want to hear someone speak who:
– Knows what they are talking about
– Cares passionately about the topic
– Takes the time to care about how their audience feels
– Has something to say that will make their lives better, easier, happier or positively different
Overall, mindful presenting allows us to create and deliver a powerful presentation. One which is clear, compelling and valuable.
It’s about connecting with your audience emotionally as well as intellectually.
If you’d like to begin your journey of mindful presenting:
– 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
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash
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