Being present is much more than just showing up to deliver.
A powerful presenter stands in their power. They recognise and value the gift they have for others.
According to Dr Amy Cuddy in her research on Presence she stated that ‘Presence is the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves’. When we are truly present, we liberate ourselves from fear and we stand up and perform at our very best.
Only in this state can we really connect with our audience, we can then empower them to do the same.
And that is what a presenter or a trainer aims to do. Empower others to be the best they can be. If you want to be a powerful presenter, you need to be completely present when you stand in front of your audience ready to share every time. You need to be in your own authentic power, truly believing that your message, your story and your content is a gift for your participant or audience.
Stand in your power
Being present also means not being distracted by outside influences, not being distracted by self-doubt and not being distracted by other people’s demands. You can be flexible to meet the needs of your audience and clients but not be distracted away from the outcomes you need to achieve in this moment, this training or this presentation.
So how do you prepare to show up being 100% present?
Research has proven that our body can shape our mind and our mind can shape our behaviour. So, you can prepare and be present with your body as well as your mind. When you are feeling anxious or challenged, you react and can experience a fight, flight or even freeze moment.
By merely slowing your breathing down or visualising a positive experience free from threat, can change what your nervous system is doing.
By standing tall with your head up and smiling at the people around you can change the way your brain is reacting to an anxious situation. Therefore, if you walk into a training room or onto a platform smiling, with strong strides and your head up, your body will shape your brain into believing you are a self-assured, confident expert. You’ve probably heard the expression fake it until you make it well how about fake it until you become it. Dr Cuddy’s research about Power Posing, although has been criticised and challenged in recent years, suggests that just by standing in your power, it is optimising the brain to being 100% present. I’m a convert. I love to work with evidence-based theories, and I have witnessed this approach work for so many of my nervous clients.
Your brain is also wired to predict the future. When you are feeling confident and positive about the experience you are having, it can shape how you move forward into the next experience. Allow your brain to predict a positive presenting experience even before it has happened.
Only when you are completely present can you be of service to your audience. In my first book Speaking in the Shower, I suggested you rehearse in the shower. Many of us are confident singing rock stars in the shower, we are not nervous or apprehensive. When no-one is watching we feel totally comfortable to be ourselves, to be completely Present. We now need to capture that same authentic superstar from the shower, the one that is larger than life, confident and brave and transport them into the next presenting situation. Of course, do get dressed first.
When you are training or presenting you need to bring your boldest, your bravest, your best self to the classroom or platform. You need to be Present. Step into the shoes of your audience members for just a moment; believe they are there to graciously accept your gift. Your experience, your stories, your message is your gift. Give it wholeheartedly.
Are you ready to give it a try?
Find a mirror, stand up, stand tall, hands on hips and hold it for 30 seconds, say to yourself.
You’ve got this!!
Then rinse and repeat several times throughout the day. Are you ready to walk on that stage now?
Hold your head held high, walk on, smile – you’re in the moment now so stay there.
Paula Smith – Your expert in Presentation Intelligence ® and Leadership Communication.
Keynote Speaker CSP, Master Trainer, Author, Business Coach and trusted advisor for over 30 years.
If you would like to learn more about how to become an Exceptional Presenter check out Paula’s next public programmes or book an in-house session for your key people.