Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Here's a recent discovery delighting my more nervous trainees.

You can use your eyes to trick your own brain into feeling confident and engaging with your audience the way you should.

First, check if you're qualified to get some benefit from this.  Do you recognise any of these thoughts:  I'll forget my words. I'll make mistakes. They'll see through me. I'm not good enough. I'm not a show pony. I don't belong here.  Yes?  Stay with me.  What about this thought:  I don't see individuals in front of me, I see a sea of faces. Yes? 

Then this trick is for you. It deals directly to that last thought about the sea of faces.

While you're speaking, while you're looking around, make yourself stop on a single individual and - for only a single heartbeat - look directly into that person's eyes. In that tiny moment, give that person a tiny nod.  Then move your eyes somewhere else in the audience and do it again.

There's an immediate, double payoff. In that instant the person you looked at feels a frisson of pleasure that you engaged. But most importantly, in that instant you will forget to be nervous. Do it again with another individual and there's another instant when you're not nervous. Then another. And another...  another... another...   Wait a minute, what happened to the nervousness?  Now you can deliver your message with the confidence it deserves.

You see what just happened? You didn't try to tell yourself to stop being nervous - which never works - instead, you shifted your focus to something way more useful.

That is some trick. I'm now introducing it in every presentation skills training workshop.

Are you going to try it? I'm keen to hear the results. Please use my full name Michael Brown when you Contact me.

Michael