All Time is Simultaneous – Past, Present and Future

Your past thoughts and actions have created your present and what you do in the present will create the future – positive, negative or neutral. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to be aware of what you are thinking, doing and, thus, creating.

Practicing awareness moment to moment is the key to avoiding the anxiety that accompanies the worrying ahead syndrome or uncertainty. Although, you strive to predict or control the future, your power lies in the present. When you are apprehensive about the future, concentrating on what you can do now rather than what may occur will help you remain calm and collected. When you are grounded in the moment you will no longer feel that your life is a series of coincidences that you are helpless to influence.

Grounding yourself in the present is a matter of recognizing that your ability to influence anything is limited to the actions you take in the moment. Staying focused on the actions you take in each moment will bring about the future events you wish to create.

Grounding yourself will facilitate your decisiveness remaining in tact, allowing you to boldly choose the path you wish to take and banishing pessimistic thoughts. Then, you can participate fully in the richness of your journey in life, moment by moment – fully aware of each step you take. When you ground yourself in the present, your mind will cease to focus on ‘what if,’ ‘if only,’ and all the thoughts one could focus on when one is uncertain about the future, thus anxiousness and uncertainty will be a ono-issue. You will be empowered to positively influence what is transpiring in the moment.

Your Role As a Presenter

Think about your favorite restaurant, why do you keep going back? After all there are hundreds of different eating places within easy reach, all of which serve meat and vegetables.  So what makes you favorite the best?  Is it the raw materials, they way they are combined, the way they are cooked or is it nothing to do with the food, maybe it is the ambiance of the establishment, the decor, the level of service you receive, or there again it could just be the price, but I think that is unlikely.

In all likelihood it is a combination of things which make it your favorite; it is unlikely just to be the raw materials the chef uses, although this obviously has a role to play.

The same applies to presentations, it is not just the bare facts conveyed that make a presentation interesting and enjoyable. The basis of the presentation is important. You want to use the best ingredients for your presentation, but the effectiveness of a presentation has a lot to do with the way the information is delivered. When you are giving a presentation you need to behave like the staff of your favorite restaurant.

To start with, when you are planning the menu as the chef, you want to offer some variety which will make it appeal to a wide range of different people.  There will be members of your audience who are looking for a light lunch who just need an overview and those who are ready to tuck in and want the real meat of the subject.

When you are cooking your presentation add some spice and seasoning, plain food never won a Michelin star. Think how you can weave some stories around your subject, introduce some light hearted humor and make the contents of your presentation look interesting as well as tasting delicious.

When you are delivering your presentation, you need to be in the role of the amiable waiter. Start by looking like you are enjoying what you do, remember to smile. Nobody likes being served by a dour waiter. You want to be friendly but not over familiar, your role is to serve not to be part of the group who are dining. The customer is always right, so don’t talk down to the audience or start an argument with them.

For a business presentation the presenter should always be dressed as smartly if not more smartly then their audience. You don’t find many good restaurants where the waiters have dress down Fridays.

One of the first tasks a waiter always undertakes is to ask his clients what they would like to eat, and how they would like their steak cooked. The same hold true for presentations, if you don’t already know what your audience would like to hear and how they like their information presented, then ask them. Make the presentation interactive.

Remember that you audience are your customers and that you are there to serve them, to give them what they asked for not what you want to serve. Nobody would return to a restaurant that just shoved what the chef had cooked in front of the diners and expected them to eat it.

Finally, give the audience the time to enjoy the presentation, don’t rush them but be attentive and look out for any signals that you are taking too long. Talking too quickly makes it hard for your audience to keep up with you and some may switch off and stop listening. On the other hand you always want to make sure that you have stopped talking before your audience have stopped listening.

To make people come back for more remember to serve them well.

Better Presentation Skills Through Improv Comedy

Do you want to improve your presentation skills and be a great speaker? Then you should consider learning improvisational comedy!

I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t improvise my speeches. I write them out and memorize them.”

That may be the case, but there are three reasons you should still learn improv comedy:

1) You will definitely find yourself in situations where you have to give an unscripted speech. Maybe you get asked to speak on short notice, or for a presentation so small it is not wort scripting.
2) Things will go wrong, and you may have to go “off-script” and improvise.
3) Learning to improvise will absolutely 100% improve your scripted presentation skills!

If you’re unfamiliar, improv comedy is a form of theater where performers take the stage with nothing prepared in advance and make it up as you go along. Learning improv comedy can help your presentation skills in the following powerful ways:

1) You will be more authentic – The best bit of advice you can receive as a speaker is to “be more authentic.” Unfortunately, many people who suggest this never go on to explain *how* to be more authentic. Any competent improv instructor will not only stress the importance of being authentic when improvising, but will also take you through exercises designed to help you learn how.

2) You will develop natural movements – Many presentation skills coaches and instructors teach you to not move your arms at all, and to keep them at your side. They say that hand gestures are distracting. Not true! While excessive hand gestures may distract the audience, it is even more distracting to watch someone struggle to stay still who likes to move. The exercises in improv comedy can help you develop movements that are natural and don’t distract.

3) You will be funnier – Even if you are not a humorist, if you can make an audience laugh, or at least smile, you will be a success. It’s called improv *comedy* for a reason. By learning improv, you will develop you own natural sense of humor and learn to use it off the cuff, as needed.

4) You will be better able to connect with the audience – Improv is an interactive performance form. The audience is part of the show. As you become a better improviser, you will learn to work with the audience and automatically sense when they are with you and not.

Consider taking a class or joining an improv group. All major cities and many smaller ones have improv groups that put on shows and offer classes. If not, try checking in with local theaters – many of them offer classes in improvisation.

Not only will you improve your presentation skills, but you will also have a tremendous amount of fun!