I liken presenting in front of people that I want to impress to a horse trainer walking into the stall of a very obnoxious and mean spirited stallion. Frightening, yet, if you want to move the horse, you must do something that will get the horse’s attention and respect. It is no different with moving a group to buy-in to you.
Most of us don’t have the mental mindset or inner confidence of presenting or even standing in front of a group to start with; we need something that will work right now. Self-defeating thoughts no longer need to hold you back when standing before a group. It all starts with the power of presence. The way you present yourself in front of people is a defining moment, that moment indicates what the group will expect from that point on.
Where Do You Start?
I completely believe that all things manifested start in the mind, yet fixing my mind is an arduous process. Lets start with the most profound and easiest place to bend the mind to your will: your personal presence.
If you master the power of your presence, the rest comes sooooooo much easier. Go back to the first paragraph, the one where I spoke about walking into an angry horse’s stall – you will either get injured or a horse will instantly know you are in charge – it is no different with presenting in front of a group of people. Master that first step before you open the stall door and you have mastered the horse. Horses smell fear and they respond to it. People smell fear too, and they feed on you when they sense it. Everyone you present to wants you to give him or her something they can walk away with – they really don’t want you to lose because then, they lose. Remember, after all, life is all about them.
The Short Philosophy Behind Presence
Just think of the people you like to hear speak, what is their presence like? Presence demonstrates attitude, attitude shows in the way you carry yourself and the way you use your voice and in what you give off. You gotta do what it takes to make it appear that you have a strong, powerful presence. Here are a few steps to move you in that direction.
How You Feel About Yourself
If you don’t like yourself no matter what clothes you wear or hairstyle you have or job title you carry, you have to do some serious work around that – remember, it is not physical; weight, hair and style are not what people see, they see the way you feel about yourself. When I am bummed, I must get my mind in a better place before I say a word to my audience. We can all do what we don’t feel like doing, especially if it is for a very short time. Action gets results.
I firmly believe that if you don’t think much of what you are wearing when you present to a group, neither will they. It doesn’t matter if the clothes are new or came out of the local 2nd hand store, it matters about how you feel in those clothes, that affects how confident you appear. I take great pains to make sure I feel great when I am going to present to a group, even if I am only going to give my name, business and tagline. EVERY time I present to a group I must feel good about myself – it is my rule and it works to my advantage; it will also work to yours.
I’m sure you think that every really good presenter is not hurting, they have something really great going on in their lives and they have no pain, no extenuating circumstances. After all, really powerful presenters have it all together when they stand or sit in front of a room? I say sit because one of the more powerful speakers I have seen is a quadriplegic; his message was so profound and so intense and so inspiring. It had to do with the way he projected his voice – that is all he really had to give to the audience and it showed up with confidence. Your power comes from projection and attitude, not from your circumstance. Great presenters often have even more tragic circumstances than we do; they have learned to draw strength from their pain.
Pamela’s Point: The true game is mental; you get a head start by doing something physical to align with the mental place you want to be.
When you master the art of presence, you can walk into a stall and the horse will respect you. You can stand in front of a group of mildly interested peers and instantly grab their attention, because they respect you.
There is so much more to say about the Presence in the Presence-tation, but personally I prefer shorter articles, so you’ll have to wait for part 2, Stand Out When You Stand There!
Now, It’s Your Turn…
What have you learned about you and what really goes into the initial presence of public speaking? I’d love to hear what works for you and what you would like to delve deeper into.
Want to Improve?
Pamela Cournoyer, CEO of Communicate With CLASS, Inc. offers personal coaching for those who want to improve their presentations. She works with both local and long distance speakers. http://communicatewithclass.com