When you are able to take control of your emotions and
manage your confidence and fear levels, you’ll dramatically
improve your presentation skills
their eyebrows may well be raised and
straightened, their mouth slightly open and
lips tense (small) and drawn back.
ITS ALL IN THE POSTURE
Take a look at TV programmes such as
and you’ll see fear in many of
the contestants pitching for the investment
of the dragons. It’s a good idea to make a
list of the things that signal a person is
fearful. This helps you recognise the factors
more easily and more efficiently commit
them to memory. Study confident people,
too, and compare their individual actions
with what’s on your list.
Now, using a mirror or a partner, adopt
a fearful posture and then switch to
feeling confident, now switch back again.
Spend a few minutes moving between
these two states so that you can turn each
on and off like a switch.
It’s been scientifically proven that 55 per
cent of what governs how we feel (fearful
or confident) is based solely on our posture
and physiology. So any time you sense a
feeling of fear, simply adopt your now
learnt confident physiology. Fear gone or
greatly reduced in an instant. It really is
that simple to change how you feel!
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
When you think of standing up and
presenting and you start to feel that feeling
of fear, what is your focus? Take time,
either alone or with others, to think about
and list all the things you are focussing on
when imagining presenting to others. If you
are thinking ‘all those people’, why is that
your focus and what is it about them that
By now, you’ll begin to uncover the root
causes of your fear by understanding it in
relation to what you are focussing on and the
real reasons why. Now all you need to do is
refocus and the fear will diminish. For
example, if the root cause of your fear is a
sense of impending embarrassment by
forgetting your lines, fluffing your message
and generally going wrong on stage, then let’s
give you a new focus.
Imagine yourself leaving the stage to a
standing ovation. People are patting you on
the back and coming up to shake your hand.
For this to be effective, you need to really
develop this mental image within your own
mind. You can do this by adding detail and
making your internal mental representation,
big, bold and in colour. The sounds are loud
and clear and you can even smell the room,
and feel the steps of the stage under your
feet. Now close your eyes and spend five
minutes developing and clarifying your
internal movie. Once you have this clearly in
your head, relax and open your eyes.
Whenever you start to sense fear about an
impending presentation, play your movie and
focus on all the detail as much as possible.
You’ll be astonished at how your feeling will
change… once again, in an instant.
FORGET ABOUT YOUR WORRIES AND
One final step for removing your sense of
fear comes from a simple technique of
changing how you internally communicate
with yourself in relation to what is making
On a sheet of paper or a computer screen,
write a page or so describing how you are
feeling towards an upcoming presentation
and how you think it will go. Write down what
you think will be good and what will be bad,
make notes of the individual things that you
think will or might happen and your thoughts
and opinions of them.
Now, read through what you have
written and highlight every word and
phrase that is negative (can’t, won’t, fail,
miss, lose and so on). In other words, pick
out every time you associate something
negative with your presentation.
As a separate exercise, do the same, but
this time highlight every word and phrase
that is positive (will, can, win, success...).
How many of each do you have? Typically, the
more the percentage is negative, then the
more fear you are associating with the event.
The final stage of this exercise is to replace
all of your negativity with positivity. Literally,
cross out every negative reference and
replace it with a positive alternative and
write a nice new pristine version with no
negative references. Now, as regularly as you
can, read to yourself your new, entirely-
positive thoughts about your upcoming
presentation and, lo and behold, that’s what
your brain will provide you with.
In summary, whenever you start to sense
any fear related to presenting, firstly stop
negatively focussing on yourself and
reframe your mindset to what others may
be concerned about.
Next, adopt your confident posture and
physiology. Thirdly, mentally play your
internal success movie and make sure to
focus on the sensory detail. Next on the
list is to read your positive presentation
commentary to yourself, and do so with
feeling, really believing what you are
Finally, remember that exuding confidence
and managing your fear is mostly due to the
way you mentally process. So if you dwell on
negatives that is what your brain will deliver
for you. But if you concentrate on successful
aspects, that’s a much more appropriate
focus for your mind and likely to significantly
enhance your performance.
is a commercial
Mind for Success