The other evening I dipped into an interesting book called “Inner Peace for Busy People” by Joan Borysenko and in it I came across a paragraph which made me stop and think. Joan was speaking about giving a presentation and she said…
“When I am centred, it’s easier to respond to people, to catch the nuances of their attention, and to let the inspiration flow through me. Thinking of myself as an instrument that life plays rather than the source of the melody has helped me…”
This elegant piece of prose has hit on a fundamental of public speaking . Should we prepare a detailed script for our presentation and read it word for word? Or could we reflect, create an outline, and then allow ourselves to relax and let the inspiration flow naturally?
There are lots of logical reasons for choosing the former option and as I write this post I can hear them bubbling up , clamouring for attention like a bunch of unruly schoolchildren
- I must get my facts right
- I can’t remember everything I need to say unless io write a script
- I can’t think quickly enough to create a good speech “on the fly”
- if I don’t have a script I may say something inappropriate
- I wrote some clever words and I don’t want to forget them
How much more engaging might your presentation be…
- If it came from the heart?
- If it was adapted to the needs of your audience in real time?
- If you were able to incorporate topical material?
- If it was less about you and more about your audience?
What would you need to be able to give a more spontaneous presentation or speech?
Knowledge and experience of the subject in hand
Clarity of desired outcome for your presentation
Time to allow your unconscious mind to mull over what you need to say and the best way to say it
Trust in your brain’s capacity to feed you with appropriate language and ideas
I know that my best speeches and presentations have all come from the latter approach but I don’t always trust myself enough to “let go” Perhaps that would be an appropriate resolution for new year?
The Presentation Doctor