Presenting with Impact – 2. Confidence

Presenting with Impact – 2. Confidence


Is lack of confidence in front of an audience – whether small or large – holding you back from presenting with impact?

It is said that some people fear public speaking more than death.  It may be an extreme way of expressing the fear but it does highlight that some people are terrified of speaking in front of an audience.  Why is that?

Ask yourself:  What is the worst thing that could happen?
Responses to this question that I have heard:
~ I may forget what I am about to say.
~ They wont understand what I have to say.
~ People will think I’m stupid.
~ I’ll make a fool of myself.
~ The audience wont like me.
~What is your answer to this question? And then be honest with yourself, how likely is it to happen if you are properly prepared?

Here I will share with you some techniques which you can use to feel confident when you are in front of your audience.  And, these techniques can be used in other situations when you need confidence, too.

If you focus on something going wrong, guess what will happen?  Yes, it will go wrong.
We give energy to the negative outcome and then our unconscious mind thinks that’s what we want and does what it can to help us achieve it. A

Something we see, a song, a smell, a sound may make us feel a certain way.  For example, if you hear a song which you love, you will feel happy or if you smell fresh bread baking in a supermarket, you may feel compelled to buy some, or you smell a perfume or aftershave and it reminds you of someone you love so you feel good inside.  These are external ‘triggers’ that change the way you feel and you can create your own ‘trigger’ or ‘anchor’ which you can set off at any time so you can change the way you feel – for example, confidence for your presentation.  Once you have established and anchored confidence, you can fire off your trigger at any time, before and during your presentation – whenever you need a boost of confidence.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Decide on how you want to feel – eg: confident.
  • Decide on the physical trigger you will use as your anchor.  I suggest that you squeeze the top of your finger and top of your thumb together, as that is easy for you to do without anyone noticing you doing it.
  • Recall a real time when you felt extremely confident and recall that time as if it was happening to you right this moment. Experience it through your own eyes – see what you see around you, notice the sounds, be aware of how you feel and what you are thinking.
  • Set your anchor – squeeze your finger and thumb together when you feel yourself in the state and release when it starts to go off (about 10 seconds in total).
  • Think of something completely different.  Then repeat.
  • Test your anchor.  When you fire it off, you will feel more confident.

Keep practising setting your ‘anchor’ so that you get really used to it and it is easy for you to fire off when you need that boost of confidence.

Do this technique before you go in front of your audience as it will help you to feel calm and focussed and to build rapport with all of the group.  You can also do it quickly during your presentation if you feel yourself needing to bring yourself back to the moment.

  • Stand with feet hip distance apart and your arms loosely hanging by your sides so you feel stable in your position.
  • Raise your eyes to a high point on the wall (anything you can find – a fire alarm, a dirty mark, piece of blutac etc).
  • Focus on the spot on the wall and expand your awareness to the sides and the back of you.
  • Lower your eyeline to your natural  level, or your audience.  Take a breath.  And go into the room, onto the stage or start speaking, whichever is appropriate.

And finally … Imagine yourself 2 minutes after you have successfully completely your presentation.  Now where is the fear and the anxiety?  Now how do you feel? Remember that practice and preparation is essential, whether it’s what you are going to say, or the techniques above which will help you to feel confident and overcome your nerves.

I teach both of these techniques to clients in the Powerful Presentation Skills training and with one to one presentation coaching clients as they are tried and tested and they work.

If you would like to be able to present with impact, at Sensability we offer you the opportunity to work with a professional actor on our presentation training and coaching, as well as with a professional trainer.  Please get in touch and lets have a chat about how Sensability can help you to take the next step.

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