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How to use positive mind-sets in public speaking

Read time: 3 minutes

Executive Summary

In public speaking, positive mind-sets are crucial. Remember that your communication reflects back what you project. Instead of believing in tough audiences, strive to build rapport with them.

Key points:

  • Your communication reflects back on you.
  • There’s no such thing as a tough audience; you simply haven’t built enough rapport.
  • Pacing understanding, content, and environment can help you build rapport and engage your audience.


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.

Building rapport

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. *

Author: Dee Clayton

Dee Clayton - Simply Amazing TrainingDee Clayton, an acclaimed coach and winner of the prestigious Overall National UK NBW Award in 2022, has over 30 years of experience in communication. With over half of her career as an author, mentor, and trainer. Dee offers a distinctive blend of skills and insights. Her mission is clear: to empower high-performing individuals to excel further, while guiding their teams to unprecedented success. Connect with Dee via LinkedIn.

Posted by Dee Clayton on 15 Feb 2016

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