How can I help, guide, answer, shape and influence this group of people in front of me?
If you focus on yourself and your own insecurities, it can lead you to disassociate from your audience, and they will start to wish they were somewhere else. If your attention is truly on what is outside of you, then your audience will believe you are able to handle most situations and will have confidence in you.
So how do you stay in the present moment when you are about to deliver your findings to the CEO or have just been asked to speak for a colleague who's had to rush off to deal with an emergency? The first thing you need to do is focus on everything outside of yourself. Worrying about how nervous you are or what's on slide 3 will only feed your imagination and fear - and that will only increase the levels of adrenalin in your body. That adrenalin needs to go somewhere!
What do these people need to know & what is my message?
The next thing is to observe what is going on without judgement. What can I see around me? What is in the room? What are people wearing? What is my breathing doing? Noticing - without judging - will pull you into the now. If someone then yawns in front of you, your internal dialogue will say, "Simon is yawning" not "Simon is clearly bored already". It is the negative self-talk that will pull you away from the present and distract you away from your audience.
It’s rare that our internal voice is helping us with positive thoughts, for the most part it’s happy to tell you that the CEO doesn’t like you, and that this is the day everyone discovers you’re a fraud. If you find yourself purely in the moment, there are no voices good or bad because it won’t be about you.
Take your time
Being present takes practice. Anyone who has meditated will tell you how difficult it is to still the mind. Start small, observe what’s around you on a daily basis - tell yourself you are going to really listen to that colleague you often switch off from. Notice how your exchanges begin to shift.
The next time before you stand up to present, really look and connect with your audience and be fully aware of your environment. Here is a short clip of the Dali Lama talking about the various ways we can view the present. He’s certainly focusing on his audience.
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