A Mind-Body Exercise To Overcome Your Fear Of Public Speaking
You've written the perfect PowerPoint script. You've found beautiful images and the most concise, powerful words to illustrate your witty, savvy, brilliant presentation points. Remember, though, you are your audience’s focus—not the screen. Because of that, it's important to design the dynamic you wish to have in the room as you present, and beyond.
Here are some moves to prime you for your presentation, get rid of public-speaking jitters, and infuse you with confidence and strength. They can be helpful for anyone, whether you're a rookie pitching a big idea to your boss or a top executive speaking to your employees.
Soften and Connect
When trying to project strength, we often confuse confidence with rigidity. A truly strong and confident person can stay soft and allowing in their demeanor, knowing that their sense of value and strength is unshakably sourced from within. So, remove the chest armor and embrace the star that is you.
The Moves: Place your left hand across your heart and breastbone. Place your right hand on top of your left. Gently press your breastbone down and toward your spine. Your spine will melt into a C-curve, as your ribs and pelvis soften and your gaze lowers toward your knees. (Keep your shoulders over your hips.)
In this position, close your eyes and gaze into your heart, breathing deeply. As you breathe, say this wonderful mantra that I learned from my teachers The Mary Group: "I am an unstoppable force* of sacred existence. I am ________. I am ________. I am ________." Fill in the blanks with the aspects of you that you choose to embody and emanate during your presentation, such as precise, playful, clear, brilliant, inviting, catalyzing, inspiring, etc.
*Please note that you are an unstoppable force for, not against. "Against" energy will repel your audience and your opportunity for forward movement and open exchange.
Use your internal enlivener—your yawn—to wake up your nervous system, and inhabit yourself from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. And don’t stop there. As you extend into space on your inhale, feel the space (especially through your palms), reaching back into you.
The Moves: Stand while you induce full-body yawns. Be sure while yawning to:
- Inhale deeply and luxuriantly as you stretch your arms fully toward your office or boardroom ceiling or the sky, spreading your fingers wide and pushing through your palms. Roll your eyes back in your head, open your mouth wide, and slide your tongue down your chin. Release your belly, push your pelvis forward, and feel your weight shift toward the ball of your foot.
- As you exhale, open your chest wide as your arms circle behind you and back to their starting position, along with your eyes, tongue, fingers, head, spine, and pelvis.
- Shimmy through your whole self to reset.
- Repeat two or three times.
Everything is a relationship. Consciously create on an energetic level the mutual exchange that you choose to be in the space and with the people to whom you will be presenting.
The Moves: Close your eyes and stand in the room in which you will be presenting, in your imagination or reality. In your imagination, see the people to whom you will be presenting. Feel your self in absolute presence, including how your feet make contact with the floor and how the floor supports you. Embody and emanate into the room the aspects of your self that you called in during Soften and Connect.
Illuminated in these aspects, draw figure eights with your eyes (still closed) in the horizontal plane, creating an internal infinity loop between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. Next, choose the aspects that you wish to be exchanged between you and your audience during your presentation, such as openness, curiosity, support, free and easy communication, etc. Embody and emanate the energy of these aspects as you create an infinity loop between you and the space and your audience. Use your eyes and breath to create the waves that your aspects ride in this figure eight.
When you feel oneness with your audience and space, you are ready to present! Don’t forget to get really excited about you, what you have created and are offering, and what you will exchange with those who will be in the room as well as those who may benefit from your creation and knowledge in the future.
Shimmy, and enjoy your presentation and thriving.