How to Get into a Strong, Energetic State Before a Presentation
[Updated 2020] What’s your energy like when you present? Do you know? And even if you think you know, are you sure? And if you needed to, would you know how to get into a strong, energetic state before a presentation?
Another question: how do you think other people judge your energy levels? You might think this is an obvious question, but I bet there will be things you’re missing. We can’t always tell what’s really going on, and even less can we tell how we come across to other people, because we have so many mind filters in place. Plus, we always miss or delete information as we process it.
So if you’re interested, here’s an exercise that’s a way for you to find out how other people see you, and – if you need to – learn the triggers you need to get into a strong, energetic state before a presentation. You’re going to practise moving from the ‘off’ to ‘on’ button!
For you. Energy is useful fuel to access if you’re a nervous speaker, as you can use it to move through your presentation with more conviction. Anxious speakers tend to shrink and lose energy, so being able to know and access your own triggers is very helpful.
For your audience. You’re also much more engaging as a speaker when you have energy (unless it’s totally over-the-top of course!). If you are nervous, this can help to build your confidence, as you’ll usually get more positive energy feedback and reinforcement from them.
If you’d like more energy to start strongly when you present, here’s what to do:
Get a colleague or friend whom you trust to meet up with you. Then ask them to observe you and note down their ideas about differences in your physical state during a couple of processes:
- Choose a topic you’re usually enthusiastic about, and deliberately talk about it in a dispassionate, low-key, disinterested way. Sit down if you usually sit during presentations, stand up if you normally stand. You want to replicate your typical speaking scenario as closely as possible
- Now move around, shake yourself out, bounce on the balls of your feet. Stand or sit down again – whatever you did in Part 1 – and then start to speak on the same topic. This time, bring every bit of yourself to the content: talk with as much energy, interest and conviction as you can
- Ask your observer to tell you what they noticed. What changed between the two? Ask about movement, breath, vocal patterns such as speed or pitch, pausing, facial expressions. Which do they prefer? Why?
- If they’re not sure of some aspects, redo the exercise
You can try it with someone else too of course, for more varied feedback.
After doing this exercise, especially if you do it with a few different people, you’ll be much clearer on what changes in your physical system when you’re speaking with energy and conviction.
You can now use this knowledge deliberately to come across more effectively to your audiences. Practise over a period of time focusing on these markers to change your state from the least to the most effective – perhaps practise initially when you’re alone and won’t be self-conscious!