Public speaking can be a terrifying experience for so many of us. Once upon a time, and not so long ago; I was terrified of the same. What I believed was going to happen (negative) did not happen at all! In fact the very opposite was true, and can proudly say that the experience was amazing; and that my 8 minutes of the presentation disappeared in a flash…. too quickly in fact. In 8 minutes I realized that I had experienced an “epiphany” A new belief…..a new and more empowering belief that for sure would transcend to other areas of my life.
Did I panic?!!!?? Of course I did; not only did I panic, I freaked out! p.s. This did not help much; however it was extremely important to acknowledge whats going on inside, outside and upstairs! I said two important words to self “OWN IT! ”
I knew my subject well, however continued to research, and interestingly through allocating study time, topped up my knowledge on the given subject (good move).
The organizer and my chair were super organized (early, thorough, and clear communication). My chair was amazing. A great resource, and an experienced speaker. My tip is this; gather as much information as you can regarding content, duration, and importantly the audience. Who is attending?. Pitch your presentation to your audience. What is it that they can take away with them? Advantageously I personally knew some of the professionals who would be attending the presentation, and I took the liberty of letting them know that I was presenting at the conference, what my subject content was, and what it was they would value most as attendees.
I wrote down a list of fears and challenges. I am glad that I did this; as I wanted to refer back to this list after the presentation to establish if any of my fears were in fact “true”; and also if had overcome any of the obstacles and challenges that I had.
My mantra “All that I need reside within me”. I repeated this many times in one day for 2 months. Long after my presentation my mantra is still there!. What a mantra and a half to take with me onto new experiences. It is true; all answers are not far away. I learned to sit in silence and to listen to stillness.
What do I want?
I visualized on what “I wanted”, not on what “I did not want”. A desire far out weighed what I did not want, and that was indeed a positive platform of where I would always center myself. I began to create a list with the subject header being “what does the perfect presentation look like in my eyes?” There was also a 2nd question “How will I know when I have delivered a great presentation?” I answered each question, and retained the list for reference.
Resources – What resources will I need?
First answer “me” A registered NLP Practioner of which a huge bonus! Yes, I have recently achieved my Practoners Certificate and Coaching Certificate; an ideal opportunity to use the tools to coach myself! Second question posed “Why reinvent the wheel?” a-ha! Who inspires me? What can I learn from the likes of Oprah, Anthony Robbins, Les Brown? What makes an audience sit on the edge of their seat and hungry for more? After watching the giants on youtube, I noticed that great presenters, speak their truth, know their subject, get the audience thinking, they interact and they “bring it” oh yes “ENERGY” lots of it; and humor; ensuring to remain natural and authentic and in content in every way. That’s what I wanted for my audience; and that is what I wanted for me. Great presenters tell stories; everyone likes stories! I can hear Les Brown now…You have greatness within you and he’s right! I do, and you do too – say it loud, say it proud; like you mean it. IIIIIIIIIIII HAVE GREATNESS WITHIN ME! Shout it from your rooftop “I HAVE GREATNESS WITHIN ME!”….I learned from those who inspire me; and sure enough; there I found inspiration, and lots of it
As I was surfing on the net, I happen to stumble upon an online training course called “rule the room” (Jason Teteak) one word for this little gem of a resource “brilliant” The video workshop shared a simple template to use for building presentations, as well as how to present professionally. One word for you Jason “wicked” (cockney slang for good, amazing). In fact I plan to write to him this evening to tell him how useful and valuable his workshop was to me, and I believe millions of other people. The video is clear; so clear you can see straight through it; and right at the end of the tunnel were the words “success” Before I knew it, I had my first draft. Very important to note, that it was a draft….I could play with the draft until the cows came home. The cows did not come home, so I created, and recreated and recreated…..Enjoy the experience, have fun.
Keep the presentation clean and in line with the content. There is nothing more horrid than seeing lots of bullet points on a presentation. I hunted for images that would capture audience interest and that were relevant to content (maximum of 0-2 bullet points per slide). I was very fortunate to have support from my Chair who recommended a Thinking Coach that he had worked with, and recommended. Amazing………..I will never think about presentation slides in the same manner again. Again brilliant..simplicity at its best!
I also watched Ted Talks. Again another great resource for tips on public speaking.
Practice, practice and practice….
I always bought the following tools for my practice sessions; an open mind, a sense of humor (lots of it), patience (bags and bags of it) passion (bring your heart, soul, greatness – your giant) A mirror, stop watch; presentation card – bullet point with prompt words. I practiced with the mirror, I practiced with friends, colleagues. Get feedback lots and lots of it.
The presentation itself
On the actual day of the event, I noted that there were some nerves, but no longer was I “freaking out” like I had been months before. Naturally the mantra kicked in. By this time there was a very strong and powerful belief that everything that I needed was within me. There was nothing to fear. The audience looked amicable and quite friendly. I recognized that there were no aliens, only people, just like me. The only difference was, they were sitting quietly, and I was standing, and the speaker. There was a podium available; and I chose not to use it. What I wanted was for the audience to see and hear me, and I them. No barriers.
As I mentioned earlier, the time was over so quickly. What is true and what I believe is this…Through practice, commitment, and dedication anything is possible. There were a few errors of which I will note for next time – there is no such thing as failure only feedback. The feedback from delegates with regards to presentation style, subject and content was great, better than I could had imaged. The most important lessons that I took away from the entire experience was that between passion and fear lie some of life’s greatest lessons. As mentioned, my challenges were recorded, and I was able to refer back to what I had written. I split the page into 2 columns. One column marked the word “true” and the other “false”. My findings were this; that all negative statements and negative thoughts that I had were were marked as “false” What is true is this…a-ha moment…everything I need does reside within me! I was able to write a list of other competencies and skills that were true! An empowering experience, one of self-realization. Life is a Spa highly recommends “feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers and “Fearless” The 7 Principles of Peace of Mind by Brenda Shoshanna, Phd.
What challenges have you overcome recently, and what tools and resources did you find useful?
“When an experience is so powerful that it motivates people to change the whole pattern of their lives, we call that a breakthrough, or an epiphany” – Deepak Chopra