Standing alone in front of a group of people and giving a presentation… it may seem like an insurmountable obstacle. Maybe you don’t like talking to more than one person at the same time. Maybe your thoughts constantly drift away to what could go wrong, or you break out in cold sweat just by the thought of it. Maybe you’re very reluctant to give an online presentation because you can’t look your audience straight in the eye. If that’s the case it’s not tempting to expose yourself to such an experience.
When we find ourselves in a situation we perceive as exciting or unsafe, our nervous system often takes over. Our body automatically responds with stress reactions, such as tremors, palpitations or a frog in your throat. Or you freeze to the spot or have negative thoughts. Maybe you think back to a time when a presentation didn’t turn out well. Often self-criticism plays a role as well. You temporarily don’t seem to have access to your capabilities – just at a time you really need them!
Many people therefore postpone preparing for a presentation or prepare it down to the last detail – either way forgetting to focus on what they really need in order to feel more at ease or to even have fun. Or they ‘forget’ their audience. While presenting can also become easier if you do focus on your audience.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about the first automatic reaction of your nervous system, but you can influence the way you deal with it. In a coaching or a presentation training you can learn how to prepare yourself mentally and physically, which enables you to steer the tension and to even use it to speak vividly.
You will also learn how to use your own strengths in your presentation, such as your enormous content-related knowledge or your analytical skills. In addition, you will be taught proven techniques to make your story more attractive and to connect with your audience, face2face or online. Colleagues, executives, or clients.
I can’t promise you that after a coaching or a presentation training you will happily accept every invitation to give a presentation. But I can promise you that you will be much more capable of turning your own discomfort into effective behavior. That you will have enough confidence to give a presentation and make contact with your audience. In order to increase your impact and to reach your goal.
Let’s for example take a look at a common problem with giving presentations: dealing with your own critical voices. Are you going down and out, or is there another option?
Down and out, or ….
Dealing with the Internal Critic
The more critical the voice is:
this forms a vicious cycle, a never-ending story
The funny thing is that the signals of your audience seem to confirm the internal critic – and you are not aware that your own negative point of view influences your interpretation. You feel even more down and out and it seems impossible to perform.
You change your view and you break the cycle
Now you may recognize the internal critic as an outdated pattern. A way of thinking that puts you in a negative spiral downwards that does not match the reality.
Once you broke the pattern…
You can support yourself in two ways:
|Look at the actual situation, by doing a reality check
How can I help my audience move forward?
|Support yourself with compassion in the way you would support a friend.
After that, focus on your audience.
If, during your presentation, your internal critic ‘corrects’ you