Developing Presence in Public Speaking And In Life
Presence is that hard-to-define quality that engages and inspires other people. A powerful and admired actor, musician or dancer, for example, is often said to have “strong stage presence”, to define the way we always have a sense of where they are and who they are in their performance.
The same quality applies to public speaking, and can actually be used to some degree in everyday life. Do you want to be listened to? Would you like to be seen and heard by your peers, colleagues, friends and family? Presence is a way of sharing your self with the world, of getting the attention and respect that you truly deserve in any situation. It’s also a feeling that you give and receive in life, which is what makes presence hard to define on paper.
So how do you get the benefits of presence when it is a quality not everyone understands? The great thing about presence is that you can have it without intellectually understanding it.
In fact, presence is already in all of us. It just needs to be nurtured to become a valuable part of how we share ourselves in public situations. Whether it’s presenting to an arena full of people, a boardroom or even a dinner for two, your presence will support you and help you fulfil your intentions.
The key to developing presence for public speaking (and other parts of your life) lies in how you feel about yourself. Often situations we consider as high stakes bring up past beliefs and feelings that do not serve us, and can actually undermine our intentions and our presence.
In chapter five of Dr Gary Wohlman’s book, Get Up, Stand Up For Your Life ( he explores the relationship between negative self-talk, insecurity and poor public speaking performance. He explains that fear of public speaking comes from negative self-talk (which often has origins in criticism we have received as a child).
“So, we have remembered this moment forever as though it has just happened, and it remains forever in our muscle memory. Until we give it a pattern interrupt and introduce a freshly empowering and nurturing self-talk that becomes our new default program,” he writes.
When working with clients, Dr Gary explores the negative self-talk and beliefs that are holding them back. He then applies his unique approach to facilitate a shift so that self-talk becomes positive and beliefs support the client’s goals.
The outcomes from this work with Dr Gary are bountiful, fostering a better relationship to self, healthier relationships with people, more confidence in public speaking and more success in all areas of life. Through this process, insecurity is also washed away, leaving a space for confidence, love and stronger self-awareness. These qualities combined bring you greater presence for public speaking, and for all of life.