Experiencing freedom and pleasure while presenting, cracking the code!
How to make sure that you stay close to yourself when you are presenting? That it’s almost effortless and comes naturally? That you experience freedom and pleasure?
Read it in this newsletter.
The situation: riveted to his slides, Paul tried to bring his presentation into the limelight. He tried to do way too many things at the same time. He read the information on the slide, tried to give it to the audience as well and he was already reading the next slide, while still finishing his last sentence. Subsequently, his eyes looked quickly from the audience to the laptop, to find the next item on his packed slide.
Because of this, too many processes were going on at the same time in his mind, and as a result of that, Paul was uneasy and restless. There was no clear focus, no choice, no connection.
There were a lot of “ehhhs”, his head went from the screen to the sky, then shortly to the audience and back again. His body was frozen and didn’t support what he was saying. His body was turned to his laptop, instead of to his audience.
After the presentation Paul exclaimed: “horrible”. “This felt so uncomfortable!”
I told Paul he was riveted to his slides too much. That, because of that, he ended up doing his presentation in the ”newsreader style”. That there were too many processes going on in his mind (restless) and that the scattered “focus” was primarily on his laptop, instead of to the audience, and that there was no real connection, because of that.
As a request for the next meeting, I asked him to dress down his slides and to get rid of too much text. To make sure he would prepare in a way that would allow him to share the story with his audience (with a lot of less notes and grip) instead of just reading it. So that there would be more focus and connection.
The next week, there were new opportunities.
But, instead of solving the problem, Paul had just moved it. He did make his slides simple, but now he had scribbled all the text on a large sheet of paper, and he held that in his hand while he was “presenting”.
The exact same thing as a week before happened. Paul felt uncomfortable, there were a lot of “ehhhs”, there was a lot of restlessness, too many processes in his head and now the attention wasn’t focused on his laptop, but on the sheet of paper in his hand, with all of the sentences, exactly written out on it.
I now realized that Paul needed a little push.
I put 4 different pieces of paper on the floor (the essence of the story): the situation, the key question, the challenge and the results. I asked Paul to put his laptop and notes aside. He got a few minutes to prepare himself and after that, step-by-step, I invited him to fill in the essence (the steps) of the story, without anything to hold on to, except for the essential steps on the floor.
Paul found this invitation challenging, but after a bit of twisting and turning, he decided to go for it and give it a try.
I was at a loss for words.
In a few minutes he took me through his presentation. There were no “ehhs”, he was focused, and he really shared his information with me. He was connected to the content (I could tell because of his body, his arms, his eyes, his expression: everything participated, just as his voice). And I noticed he was really enjoying, doing it!
Did you feel uncomfortable just now? I asked. No, it went pretty well, he said, with a big smile.
In his own words and in a very natural way, Paul told his story effortlessly, very clearly and engaging.
While the same presentation just 5 minutes earlier was arduously, unclear and restless.
Paul’s face was radiating with joy, he was like a 5-year-old kid, that felt victorious after riding his bike successfully without training wheels for the first time.
Breaking up the presentation into a few essential steps, leaving out too much to hold on to and letting Paul fill in the basic steps in his own words.
I thought of an old “coachee”, that entrusted the following to me a few years ago.
“I had the inclination to isolate myself, when I presented. This felt safe, but by doing this I lost the public. It is quite scary to leave, this, safe, isolated space. But in the end, I was able to do this, and it gave me lots of space, freedom and pleasure” Connie
Just like Connie, it took Paul a lot of effort and courage to let go of all of his notes; the extensive notes in PowerPoint and the text he wrote out on paper. Because, those felt safe.
But this safety turned out to be trap, as I have seen so so many times.
Because, with too much notes/grip, you feel uncomfortable. You lose the connection with your audience; you lose the connection with your story (focused on the details too much) and eventually with yourself (hence the uncomfortableness).
Even though this is quite scary at the beginning. By releasing that excess of grip and replacing it to a few essential steps, you will experience more freedom, pleasure and space! And as a result of this, you will present more natural and with less effort!
And all of this by:
- Breaking up your presentation into a few essential steps.
- Leaving out the excess of grip
- Filling in the essential steps in your own words.
Tip: you can also choose to give a speech. Written out word for word and reading this aloud. Of course, that is fine. But, make a clear choice. You either give a speech and you read it, or you give a presentation that you practice at segment level. (The essential building blocks).
By making a clear choice, you create focus, connection and rest and then it becomes so much easier to bring your information into the limelight.
Translated by Wies Linssen