Hello troublemakers out there, wherever you may be. Today I wanted to talk to you about presenting, because for me presenting is definitely one of the skills that has challenged me the most, especially in the beginning. In fact, presenting used to be my biggest fear.
I know a lot of people say that, “I’m scared to death of presenting”, but it was literally my biggest fear. I would have preferred to do anything on the planet instead of getting on stage in front of people and face rejection. But in saying that, getting over that fear and mastering presenting was the greatest opportunity for me and in fact it transformed my life, and not just my life, it transformed my psychology, my confidence, my certainty. It had me be okay with being real in front of people, being present in front of groups, and that’s really what presenting is. Being there, present on the stage.
If you look at the first word in presenting, it is present, the greatest presenters of all time, are simply in present time, they’re in the moment and that’s what I work on teaching people, how to stay in the now and really connect to your audience and to your subject and to your time on that stage.
When it comes to getting on stage, so many people are not able to get free from being stuck in the past. You know you are in the past if you’re experiencing negative emotions like fear and terror etc. That’s not present time, that’s part of an old story that you have learned from a past experience and it’s probably a story you are playing often in your mind for years and are really familiar with but it’s not actually happening to you, that fear, that terror isn’t in real time, it only exists in the past, only as part of your memory.
For other people it’s the future they get stuck in. If you find yourself feeling emotions like anxiety or thinking of the worst-case scenario, that’s typically a sign that you are living in the future and fearing what might happen next.
And usually theses two states work together, the past memory triggers the fear of future outcomes and vice versa, so they strengthen each other and become more real in your mind and that’s what causes people to freeze up and get stage fright and all these common presenter things, past and future.
There is an answer and that is being in present time, in the moment. You’ve probably heard people say this about talented musicians or athletes or people who have achieved extraordinary things, it is said that they have incredible presence, and what does it mean? They just spend more time in the present moment.
I believe that when you’re in the moment you get access to an incredible energy and this energy is filled with all different types of information and knowledge that you can just tap into. In the present moment everything slows down and has a natural flow. Sometimes, when I’m presenting in front of an audience I start to share a heap of new information that is not part of my planned presentation, it’s a tangent off into something completely different and I think to myself, ‘Where did this come from?’ but it really connects to some people in the audience and they’ll say to me, “Matt that was the best part of your training today, I really needed to hear that.” And that happens so often and it connects with people so strongly and enables them to get a shift, so now I just go with it. I don’t necessarily believe in channelling, or whatever it’s called but I know something happens because I work in that state so often and it can’t be a coincidence or a fluke or any of those things. There is this vast morphogenetic field with all of this information, like the internet, you can’t see the information, but when you get connected to it then you can access this whole wealth of knowledge and have a massive impact, and we get that when we live it now or when we’re in the moment.
I think that’s when we become our most influential, when we’re in the moment and we’re present. That could be at a micro level in terms a one on one situation where you are in the moment and you’re actually present and you’re genuinely interested and you’re picking up on all the little clues, (or cues, if you will). Or it can be at a mass level where you are presenting in front of two thousand people at a life changing event. It’s your connection to the now moment that gives you presence and power as a presenter and enables the people in the audience to change or learn or take action in their lives.
In one-on-one situations it gets a bit easier because, if you have studied Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP), you can spend time with body language techniques and get your awareness off yourself and onto the other person easily to help you become present and that makes for being a truly great communicator, which is just the same thing as being a great presenter, it comes from being present.
When I was 19 years old I started to take the stage and I launched a coaching business and presented as part of that business growth, this is like 20 years ago now, and at that time I was one of the first coaches in Australia and one of the originals. This is when I really started seeing mindset at work and it’s one thing you see a lot when you are presenting often, and that is the audience can sometimes be a reflection of your unconscious mind and show up what you are thinking, especially when you are starting out.
I remember I had certain belief systems when I first started presenting at 19 years old because I was sitting down with these really, really successful people who were a lot older than me and looking to coach them. So my belief system started to pop up that, “I’m too young, I’m not smart enough, I haven’t achieved anything yet, and why would people listen to me?”
So I’d be walking up on stage and my mindset is analysing the audience, “Oh my God, there’s this person in the audience, this person in the audience, this person. They’re dangerous, they could take me down with one sentence, and I could be totally rejected.”
So, of course, with those stories playing in my mind I’m not going to be in present time, and I would start the presentation, and you betchya, one of the first things that would happen is someone would put their hand up and the question would be, ‘How old are you?’ And I would get this same thing happen to me over and over again and the only reason was because I was amplifying it.
Another thing that I really feared was conflict. So what would happen, people would put up their hands and disagree with me, especially the alpha type of personality, and I went through this also, over and over again, and then I started to do the internal work and I started to look at where do these stories come from. As I started to neutralize them, my certainty started to grow, or my presence started to grow, and it got to the point where I didn’t become paralysed when it came to conflict. In fact, I became strong, I became powerful and as I became present I was able to tap into knowledge and resources that normally I didn’t have. In the past I would’ve been silent not knowing what to say, but because I’d done the work, then suddenly I had access to all of these resources and creativity.
It got to the point where, instead of being the victim, I became a little bit of the aggressor and I started to enjoy that kind of intellectual battle. As I transitioned from that, I moved to more of a creative space where I didn’t have to prove people wrong anymore, I didn’t have to prove myself, and that’s when my presence increased.
I was able to get incredible breakthroughs with people at the front of the room almost without force. This is what I say to a lot of our coaches is I believe the key is to do the work on yourself so that you become more present and the technique falls away because you tap into something that is bigger than education, you tap into the person who is right in front of you and you see their wounds and ask the questions they need to unravel, what is happening to them and get to the other side of it.
It’s your presence that transforms people. The greatest presenters of all time, they’re so present that they can engage an audience like lightening, before they even open their mouth they’ve been able to engage an audience, and I believe that that is the key to influence, which is why I call my presenter training Influence Now.
The objective is not to give people a whole heap of scripts, a whole heap of techniques, a whole heap of strategies, no, it’s to take people through a journey where we look at these patterns and we challenge these patterns and we start to change the story and we do the work, not just once but over and over and over again, because with every presentation that you do you become more present.
In my training courses we start to put people in situations where they feel overwhelmed, when they’ve had no preparation and so all of their stories are firing, and the more you can put someone in that situation and they come through it successfully, then suddenly their presence starts to increase, and their confidence increases their ability to respond and be creative the next time increases.
And you don’t need to do anything or be ready to do this type of training, and in some cases, its better if you are not ready at all. I remember one training there was this client and he was absolutely petrified, way more than I ever was a kid and I remember thinking, “There is no way by the end of this training this person’s going to be able to deliver a presentation.” He was that petrified. But no, by the end of the five-day training program, he delivered a world-class presentation and knocked everyone’s socks off. He was by far and away the best presenter at that Influence Now training. And yes, we gave him strategies around anchoring the room and building rapport with the audience which he did really well, but the thing that shone through was his passion, his presence, which, when all of this was connected switches on your purpose. And that’s what happened to him. When someone is connected to a bigger mission, a bigger reason, and that’s what they’re presenting on, I believe that that really engages an audience.
I think everyone has a story to share whether you want to be a presenter as a profession or you want to do it from a personal development perspective. I know for myself, learning how to present was the greatest single thing I could have ever done, because it took my business to the next level. When it comes to coaching and consulting in this industry, everyone wants to work with an authority, and when you take the stage, that’s who you become instantly. But from a personal development perspective, especially if this is one of your biggest wounds, it will unlock an incredible amount of confidence, an immense certainty, and most importantly, a presence that will lift your engagement and get people connected to what you are saying.
This incredible presence which is really the authentic you, and that’s why I’m so passionate about presenting and running these types of trainings because they’ve had such a big, big impact on me. I’ve said this in my previous articles, our wounds become our superpowers, and it was certainly my biggest wound when it came to rejection and significance. As I mastered it, I had a natural desire to be able to share what I learned and really take people on a journey of that type of transformation.
Everyone’s got a story, everyone is unique, and often we hold onto it, we push that story down, but I implore you to get out there and start to share, to make a difference, to serve, to get a voice and I think we need more people out there with a voice that are taking a leadership position and the more you share, the more present you are going to become, the more clarity you’re going to have, which is going to tap into a bigger mission, a bigger purpose.
This is what I think the world needs: Leadership.
Natural leaders are those people who are coming from a place of service and passion. I call it passionate entrepreneurs. That’s my mission, is to get as many passionate entrepreneurs out there that are coming from that place to serve and make a difference.
I’d like to challenge you to disrupt your normal thinking and disrupt your fears and to get out there and share a message. There are so many avenues to be able to do that, whether it be Meetup or different speaking or networking events. There are so many opportunities to be able tap into that energy and get present and share your true passion.
And for those of you that have been trained in presenting or you want to launch a speaking business what I want to say to you is, there is no such thing as a perfect presentation and the key to it is to stuff it up and keep going.
Your first presentation is going to be really awkward. It’s going to be unorganized. Maybe your technology is going to not work or something that seems significant will fall apart, especially if you have a commercial type of approach you’re probably not going to hit your financial targets. The first couple are for learning. It’s on your third one, I’ve found with training a lot of speakers, that you start to hit your financial targets, but the challenge often is a lot of people give up after the second one because they’re hanging their hat on making enormous amounts of money from this presentation, and they’ve invested so much money in getting people into a room and all that type of stuff. Typically they’re doing all of the wrong things.
What I teach in Influence Now is we want to make a mess and we’ll clean it up later. Be okay with setbacks, be okay with challenges, be okay with rejection and the cheapest way to do it is to get on someone else’s stage and there are so many people that are willing to put you on their stage. The key to it is just showing up and putting yourself in those environments.
So today I was hoping to disrupt your presenting skills and inspire you to get out there and be the influence that you can be, right now.
Please make sure you send me any questions you want answered so I can serve you in the highest capacity and get you moving towards your goals.
If you would like to take your presenting skills to the next level and become an influencer in your niche, check out my intensive presenter training Influence Now.
Until next time.