By Bret Freeman
My first presentation was not successful. Weeks went into preparing content. I didn’t focus on “mindset” I needed for a great performance. Since then I have developed Communicating with P.O.W.E.R. – my own methodology. Follows these steps and you’ll deliver successful speeches and presentations every time.
Presence: Mind, Voice and Body
Audience connection needs presence of mind
You can prime your audience for your message. Use questions we can all respond to: “Have you ever had to make a difficult decision?” Or help your audience create a mental image. “Imagine the 4th of July in the blistering heat of a Southern Californian childhood. Even now I can smell the barbeque, taste the ice cream and feel my breathing as the neighborhood kids ran around playing baseball….”
Variety will create presence of voice
Our voices can provide emotional variety to our stories and help us convey our message. To make the most of your speaking and storytelling you need a different tone and inflection when talking about a near-miss in traffic and a romantic evening with a loved one. When you rehearse your presentation listen to check if your tone etc is appropriate.
How you move requires presence of body
As presenters, we can create anchors. Move left and discuss a wonderful travel experience: your audience will come with you and have happy thoughts. Move right and talk about loss: the audience will be with you possibly feeling sad. Every time you move to those places, you can re-ignite the feelings in your audience. Move with purpose.
It is important to own your mindset, your stories and the relationship you develop with the audience. With these three you’ll increase your confidence as a presenter.
Owning our mindset means identifying and understanding what triggers the behaviors that under-mind our performance.
When we own our stories and our nerves we can see presenting as conversation. Once we do this we can begin to own our relationship with our audience.
What Is Your Purpose?
Discovering purpose in speaking can make good presenters great! We spring to life and become engaging when talking about what we are beyond passionate about!
Begin drawing out your purpose by asking:
- What did you want to be when you were growing up?
- If you had all the money you need, what would you do with your time?
- What do you choose to talk to those closest to you?
Evolve Your Thinking
Evolved thinking starts when you recognize that audiences will have an emotional response to the stories they hear from you. As important, is recognizing that we are impacted by the stories we tell ourselves. We undermine ourselves with our self-talk about how we will feel in front of our audience and how we will perform.
We can control our self-talk (internal state) by simply changing the script. Our internal voice may say “I get nervous in front of an audience”. We need to believe that we’re the programmers of our own minds and evolved thinking will allow us to upgrade the programme. “I am confident and will make an impact on my audience”
Top athletes use re-imagining or visualization to help them succeed. Our brains don’t easily differentiate between actual memories and ones we’ve re-imagined. Visualizing your success in a situation – repeatedly – will change you. Re-imagining yourself as a successful speaker, delivering a stunning performance will give you a boost and the sense of familiarity you need to succeed as you deliver your presentation for real.
Re-imagining yourself is the final stage of achieving P.O.W.E.R. I hope this methodology will provide what you need for your presenting success.
Bret Freeman is an award-winning international speaker and member of Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 352,000 in more than 16,400 clubs in 141 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are more than 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7,500 members. To find your local club, visit Toastmasters International. You can follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.