‘Expression is everything’ – Serge Benhayon
Presentations are a form of expression and, contrary to popular thought, their success depends entirely on the speaker and not on how wonderful the PowerPoint slides are. There may be hours spent on preparing slides, working out what to say, but on the day, it is the speaker’s personal preparation and final delivery that matters.
Now I’m not saying that we don’t need any slides – some people need to see a visual aid to help them absorb and remember what you’ve said, so a few key words and some great pictures are a help. Whatever supporting information we provide, be it lists, tables, or statistics, we need to keep them all very simple and make sure they can be read easily from the back of the room.
Some speakers love to have an audience and can chat happily without notes, but for some, giving a presentation is like a white knuckle ride – an adrenaline pumping moment of absolute terror. I have worked with both.
Of the last 25 years I have seen many different presentations, including, sadly, many of the ‘Death by Powerpoint’ ones. The ones I find most inspiring are where the speaker lives what they are speaking about, because they can speak with a full sense of knowing, and we, the audience can trust that what they say is true because it doesn’t come with any hidden agenda, they are simply sharing what lights them up, their passion, and their life.
It doesn’t matter if their speech is technical, a sales pitch or sharing information about a hobby, any talk can be inspiring as long as the speaker is fully connected within their own body and with the audience.
I remember I gave a short talk some years ago and I was so determined to get it absolutely perfect that I rehearsed it and rehearsed it, and when I stood up to speak, I performed it beautifully, but a friend said after ‘Where were you, I missed you’.
In other words, I wasn’t being me. My underlying agenda was trying to achieve perfection, trying to impress people, and in doing so, the real me got lost.
Nowadays I am much more relaxed, my personal preparation is days beforehand, taking time to reconnect to my innermost self, having an early night, and simply being natural on the day. I might prepare some slides, but I only make a few and ensure that they support but don’t dominate my talk. I don’t plan what to say apart from noting a few important points and mostly what I say is prompted by what I get back from the audience.
I’m learning to let go of the ‘will they like me’ anxiety and to work more with ‘what do they need to hear today?’ approach. If I feel great in myself, that will come across in my presentation, so appreciating me is a great way to start the day. When there is no anxiousness and my body is relaxed, my body language is more natural and that helps the audience to relax too.
I use a few techniques to help me relax – a few gentle exercises, like rolling my shoulders, feeling my feet on the floor, relaxing my knees, tucking my tailbone under, adjusting my posture, and moving my fingers gently. I also work with breathing very gently, there is a beautiful Gentle Breath Meditation audio by Serge Benhayon that helps to calm anxiety.
Over the last 20 years, I have worked with groups and individuals, helping them to overcome nerves and give inspiring presentations. I have been supported on the way by Chris James who says ‘Everyone is born with a beautiful voice’, and more recently, by Serge Benhayon who has helped me to feel less anxious and to trust my inner knowing.