by Sally Bonkrude MA, LPC, MT-BC
a team member of sponsor: CMTEonlineclasses.com
Do you spend more time crafting the perfect message than you do preparing to “really” show up on stage? Now, preparation is important, but so often what is missed is showing up authentically. Great presenters own all of who they are…they don’t try to be like anyone else. They step onto the stage, complete with imperfections. The audience loves them because they are real. When you own and honor yourself, and focus your attention and energy on the needs of the audience …magic happens. It’s not about how you look, or how well you do. It’s about how much you care..it’s about giving. It’s about being so totally focused on meeting the needs of your audience that you’re not concerned if you’ll forget something. That’s not the issue. The issue is authentic connection with yourself first, and then your audience.
I watched a professional presenter not long ago and was left in disbelief that after all this time he still wasn’t really present on stage. Oh, he had a sharp new suit, shiny shoes, and the well-rehearsed speech. But, what he was missing was the ability to look out at his audience and really see them, to interact, to change up that “caned” presentation to meet the needs of the group. I could sense the audience losing interest as he went on in his “fake” attempt at being authentic. People know!
So the question becomes, “What does it take to be authentic”. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
Love yourself as you are, and don’t try to be like anyone else
Take time before you present to get the feel of the audience. Talk to people if you can. Find out what’s happening in their environment, in their lives. What are the challenges, the successes, the weather….
Take time before presenting to meditate. Know, that your presentation isn’t about how good you are, it’s about how open you are to loving your imperfect self. While looking out at your audience from a place of self-acceptance and self-love, you’ll be open enough to feel what your audience needs. Are they restless, maybe they need to stretch, to move? Are they talking a lot? Find out what the buzz is. Then, when you step onto your stage, ground yourself, soften your body and look at the faces of your audience. Smile, move a bit, connect eye to eye. Speak from the heart.
I hope you found this piece of my Tips for Top Notch Presentations useful and I look forward to reading your thoughts.