What Do You Tell Yourself About How You Present?
What you tell yourself about how you present is important.
In fact, it's as important as how you actually present.
Why? Because what you tell yourself about how you present will affect how you actually present. In other words, your thoughts and beliefs shape how you act. If you tell yourself, "I'm a lousy presenter" or "I suck at public speaking," (these are real statements from my presentation skills coaching clients), it will be difficult for you to overcome that negativity and do what's needed to deliver an effective presentation.
If you think that the end result will be poor anyway, it will be hard for you to dedicate the time, energy and effort needed to become an effective presenter.
For example, if you practice giving a presentation and accidentally stumble over your words, forget what you wanted to say or get stuck repeating "um" too often, you will be tempted to say, "oh well, I'll never be good at this anyway" and stop practicing… which, in turn, will mean that your presentation will not be as effective as it could be.
Follow these 3 steps to break the cycle of negativity:
1. Listen to your words and your thoughts to become aware of what you are telling yourself about how you present.
2. Change what you tell yourself. I'm not suggesting that you tell yourself, "I'm the best presenter in the whole wide world" – you will be lying to yourself and that won't help you become successful. Instead, find the middle point between lying to yourself and berating yourself – a positive statement that recognizes your potential, such as "I'm working on developing my presentation skills" or "I'm getting better at public speaking" or "I'm capable of being a competent and effective presenter."
3. Believe the positive statement that you tell yourself about how you present – and then actually go out and work on preparing and practicing so you can become a more effective presenter.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.
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