Perception is projection
As you have probably heard me mention by now, mind-set is the secret to my success as a public speaking coach and presentation skills coach. I help my clients to improve their mind-set first, and it’s only then that we work on their skill set.
I’ve previously written about the ‘downward spiral’ mind-set and public speaking fear that strikes presenters all too often. Now I thought I’d write about just one of the positive mind-sets I teach. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be well on your way to giving High-Performance Presentations every time.
Let’s play a game
Take your hand and point at an imaginary audience whilst saying to them ‘you are a tough audience.’ Keep your hand in position. Now take a moment to look at your hand. Most people will have their thumb up and their index finger pointing at the imaginary audience. If you haven’t done that yet, please go ahead and assume that hand position.
It’s the next bit I’m really interested in. Where are the remaining three fingers pointing? The answer is most often ‘pointing back at me.’
I use this exercise to remind people that our communication is a mirror that reflects back at us that which we send out. If you want a presentation to go well, you have to project positives. If you are thinking how tough and unfriendly the audience is, those thoughts will reflect in your body language. And as soon as the audience get a whiff of this, they will (unconsciously) react accordingly. Their body language will shift and you’ll pick up on that, proving you right that they are a tough audience. See? It’s a vicious cycle.
A more helpful mind-set is if you choose to believe there is no such thing as a tough or unfriendly audience. There is merely an audience with whom you haven’t built enough rapport yet. Soon I’ll be blogging on each of the techniques I teach my clients for building this all-important rapport, but for now, here’s a short taster:
Pacing Understanding: Go at the right speed for the audience. It sounds easy, but requires continual awareness of where the audience is at any one time and adaptation of your presentation accordingly.
Pacing Content: If you have a radical new idea, you can’t just throw it into the audience. You need to plan how you will warm them up gently. Consider overcoming some of their likely objections before you even mention the new idea.
Pacing Environment: The things around you impact on the audience so you need to always be aware of that. You’ll need to adapt accordingly if it is after lunch or the room is too warm, for example. Consider more discussions, mini exercises or physical movement to keep the audience engaged.
Simply Amazing Training offers professional presentation skills coaching and public speaking coaching for individuals and companies in Bournemouth, and across Dorset, Hampshire, Herts and London. Have a look around the website, or call me today on 0330 223 4392 for an informal chat to discuss your requirements.