Get Mentally Ready to Present


Strengthen Your Stage Presence


Lesson Info

Get Mentally Ready to Present

So we want now to get mentally ready to present. So we've done our physical warmup. Our bodies are ready. We've done our vocal warmup. Our voices are ready. Now we're gonna get mentally ready so make sure our brains are in the space that we want our brains to be in. Would you demo an exercise with me? I would love to, yes. So, I want us to do this exercise that's called I don't have a toothache and you can try this at home as well by yourself. You don't need a partner to do it but it's lovely when you have a partner to practice this exercise. And the concept is that when you have a toothache it's sort of all you can think about. It's all you can talk about. Everyone you meet and see is going to know about that toothache. However, the five days before that toothache you probably weren't going around telling people how fabulous your tooth felt, right? So we forget to think about what's really going well and we can often get stuck in what's not going well. And we bring that idea and t...

hat sort of humanity sometimes into our presentations, into our meetings. So this is an exercise that we can do with a partner, with other people, or alone to help get our brain in the space that we want it to be in. So I'm gonna ask you some questions about what's going right, what's going well. I'll phrase it in different ways and you just tell me the answer, whatever that is, big or small. There's no right or wrong answer. Okay. So, you don't have a toothache? I do not. Excellent. What's going well today? I'm really enjoying these classes with you and the people that are here with us. Yeah, what else is going well? I'm exercising a little bit more. I guess that New Year's resolution has kicked in. Yeah. I feel good. Yeah. What isn't wrong? I'm not sick. What else? I'm not looking for work. Yeah. I'm not alone in my life. I have great family, friends, and a wife. Yeah. What else do you feel good about right now? I feel good about-- just where I am right now. Presently, in this moment, I'm having a good time cause this is what I love to do. Yeah. Nice, yay! Love it. (applause) Yay. So, this is something that you can easily do on your own. I was telling Sammy this is something I do a lot in traffic. So like, when I'm in traffic and I start to feel myself getting a little bit aggravated and sort of putting hate out everywhere in the world-- I hate everyone and all the people cutting me off. It feels personal, directly at me. This is a really great technique to use in any situation and what I'll do is literally, when I'm alone-- So you can do this by yourself as we said. Is say, ya know-- Remind myself, ask myself that question. What isn't wrong? So, what isn't wrong today is that I have been really sick for two weeks and I'm finally getting over this cold and that's nice. I have a roof over my head. I'm relatively healthy. I have family that loves me and that I love. So I can just ask myself that string of questions. And there are different ways-- like different modalities to get at that. So I asked Sammy what's going well, what's right, what isn't wrong. So whatever it is that you need to do that mental trick for yourself to start answering those questions for you. Sometimes when I'm feeling especially kind of in a bad place I will sit down and I will actually write these out. There's something really powerful for all of us about writing things out. I don't type it. I like to write. So writing it out by hand so then I have this actual like accumulated list. I'll do that sometimes even before I present, before I give a talk and make a list of the things that are going really well about the talk, about the presentation, or the meeting or whatever it is. So I have this concrete evidence of what's going well for me. So it's a really easy thing for us to do and to help get ourselves in that mental state. You can do this right before you go on. You can be thinking about all the things that are going well, the things you're looking forward to, the things you're excited about and it allows us to decide what kind of mental energy we're gonna come on stage with and frame that for ourselves. I would want us to try I love my spot as well. So I would love to have two volunteers come up here. This is an easy one, you guys. It's so easy. Yay! Oh, thank you. Who else? Yes, thank you. Hi, Heidi. Yes, Heidi and Michelle. So, what I want you to do is kind of look around this space and it can be anywhere in front of like, the boards and the chairs-- I want you to think about if you are going to present-- You're gonna give your talk. It's gonna be fantastic, I know that already, where would you want to stand and be? Where would you feel most comfortable? Not where you think you're supposed to stand. Where would you feel most comfortable? And I want you to look around, I want you to see that place, decide where that place would be, and then I want you to go there. (laughter) Are you both going to the same place? No. Okay. Great. And then I want you to take a moment to just look around that spot and I want you to think about what it is that you really like about the space that you're in. Like this spot you've chosen, what do you really like about it? What do you appreciate about it? What do you notice? And then will you tell me, tell us, what's one or two of the things that you really love about the spot? I wanted to be closer to the audience so-- I wanted to be able to connect and really make eye contact so that's why I got close. And you like that. That feels good. Yes. What about you? Tell us one of the things-- I can see all of the audience from here. Yeah. Yeah. What else do you notice? I'm not distracted by anything that's behind me so I'm not worried about the TV screen or the whiteboard. I can just really focus on these wonderful people. I feel comfortable with the light. So I know that they can see me as well as I can see them. Yeah, awesome. Great. I'm out of the light. Light's super distracting. Yeah, so for you-- So that's the thing is that we all have really different needs, right? If, as Kimberly, not presenter Kimberly but Kimberly the person-- Like, I wanna be there. I wanna be sitting there and sort of watching and observing because I like that position. As Kimberly the presenter then I have to come up here and find that like, people need to see me. So where am I gonna feel comfortable? And part of that for me is like, I would like to be not in the light. Yeah. Right? But knowing that sometimes I gotta be in the light. So with this exercise is called I love my spot. So what I want you to do now is both of you I want for you to declare in three different ways-- So you choose your own three emotions. I want you to declare I love my spot. And I want you to make us believe it. Right? So tell us out loud, "I love my spot." Whenever you're ready. Just saying the words? Just say the words, "I love my spot." Three different ways, yeah. Okay. Go ahead. I love my spot. I love my spot. I love my spot. Oh, good job. Right? I believed that. I love my spot. I love my spot. I love my spot. Oh, that's so nice. Thank you. Is there someplace else-- now that you're up here-- is there someplace else that you're sort of like, oh I kind of wanna try this other space out. I wonder what it's like if I have more light? I wonder what it's like if I'm close to the camera? Is there someplace else you wanna give a shot? Sure. Great, so I want you to look at that spot. Don't go to it, just look at it. And I want you to think about how awesome it's gonna be to go there and anticipate that and then go there as fast as you can. That's so funny. You guys almost switched. Great, and I want you to have that internal dialogue now. I want you to look around the space and I want you to have that internal dialogue of what you really like about standing in this spot. What's good about it, what's satisfying, what's positive? What feels right? And will you tell me one of them? I can actually see more of the whole space. Oh great. And that feels empowering, to see everything. What about you, Michelle? Yeah, I agree with Heidi. I'm not distracted by what's behind me but I do have a little bit of a wider range. Great. Yeah, I like to see like all the props and stuff. Yeah. Great. Can we please give them a round of applause? That was it, that's all you needed to do. That was awesome. Thank you! So this ties into one of the things John mentioned earlier about being able to go into a space and have ownership of it and find it. So a lot of times we do have the opportunity to get into a space early and maybe practice or at least walk through and one of the positive things we can do then is to frame our mind in a way that says, "I really love this spot." So when Sammy and I came into this space one of the things I did-- knowing I was gonna be standing here center stage was I started looking around and one of the things I weirdly love is there are like velvet gray curtains. And I love them. I think they're really pretty. They look soft. I like them. I actually like the floor. I love the lights cause I know that wherever I move I can see. I like that there's a table. They took care of me and gave me a stool. So I noticed all of these little things as opposed to worrying about like, what if I lose track of the timer? I don't have my glasses on, I can't really see everything. Which, if I'm in that head space, all I'm doing is worrying about what's not working. So it's literally coming in and declaring, "I love my spot." And I stood here and went, "I love my spot." Like, "Oh, I love my spot." I love my spot. I'm getting goosebumps, right? Because I really did. I convinced myself just by doing that. I found the things I love about it so that I really do-- I feel safe, I feel comfortable, I feel like I can own where I am which means that once I'm confident and comfortable here it becomes easier for me to decide when I'm gonna move. So if I'm doing a talk, if I'm giving a talk, I might wanna decide like, I'm gonna stand here so I need to love this spot when I'm making this point. And then I'm gonna cross over here intentionally and I wanna love this spot cause I love something different about this place. So really being very intentional about where we are in the space and how we feel about the space and going that extra mile even when you're in like, a board room that seems pretty boring there's gonna be a couple of things that you can identify and empower yourself to feel really good about. This I will acknowledge was an exercise when I first learned it several years ago I felt like was so hippy, crunchy, California. Like, I kind of-- I resisted and I resisted. And then I finally decided I had to practice what I preach and I needed to try it a few times before I dismissed it and discovered that it works as well as everyone said it did. So I encourage you to try it and find the way that it works best for you in all the different spaces that you go into. Are there any questions about that from you? Great, it's so easy and fun. We wanted to do a quick yes and refresher because while we did that in another class we wanted to reiterate that because it's such an important part of our mental situation as well. So that when we are doing some of these things-- Like, in order for me to be able to adapt with the audience I need to be in that mindset of saying yes. I need to not only be framed mentally positive but I need to be able to say yes to myself, yes to the audience, I need to yes and what's happening there. And it means that I can start to engage in all these other things like feeling confident. So we wanna practice yes and and we want to practice doing yes and alone. So I need another brave volunteer. You guys are gonna be up and down all day. Yeah, will you come up again, Jared? Thanks. Our mayor, right? You were the mayor. Is that right? I was the mayor. Yeah, congratulations. The Mayor of California. Right so you need to be really good at this. Okay. For-- As like a mayor. So is there an idea that you have or something that you're like-- You know we all kind of have-- especially creative, like there's so many ideas that are out there that we like-- Yeah. Right? Will you share one of those ideas with us that you're thinking about? Yeah. One idea that I have is creating a documentary series about games around the world cause every culture has different games that they play. Oh, I would watch that. Yeah, so-- So can you yes and that idea and just follow that thread and figure out how to make that happen. Yeah. So yes and the series will feel Anthony Bourdain-esque where you're traveling around the world and you're going to different cultures and learning about the games that people play. Yes and you might go to a prison and learn about the games that are played in a prison in Thailand or you might go to L.A. and learn about the games that are played by a gang. And I think a way to make it happen is to start. So yes and I would create a couple episodes. Yes and I would create a trailer for my series. Yes and I would try to crowd fund or try to apply for a full bright scholarship or raise angel investment, perhaps $50 to $100K. But as Verner Hartsog said-- Oh, yes and Verner Hartsog said, "I only need $10, to get my first documentary off the ground." So, yes and I'm excited to work on it. I'm excited for you. (applause) So are there any of those things like-- A lot of times what happens when we're in a meeting, especially is there's a person who likes to play the devil's advocate is I think what we like to call ourselves when we do that. Are there stumbling blocks or things in your head that are saying, "No this won't work because--"? I don't have any but when I-- Sometimes-- Make this man mayor. I know. No blocks, no blocks. No, sometimes there is like an inner sensor that we all have and I feel that sensor come alive sometimes when I'm working or even when I'm in a meeting and I-- When that voice comes alive I just, I just-- I acknowledge it but then I move past it cause I, ya know, feel grateful. Were there any moments during that that you thought of like, why it might be hard or a moment that this idea of the games, like a stumbling block? Yeah? I wanted to invest. You wanna invest. Oh, great. So this is a whole new workshop now. We're just gonna workshop your idea cause it's fantastic. You said you weren't taking investors right now. (laughter) So I can imagine one of the things being like, well how are you gonna get to all these countries? Like, you're not gonna be able to get into a prison, right? You're not gonna-- That's not gonna happen, right? Maybe. So we have those things. I think you could. But what we wanna do is figure out how when we hit those stumbling blocks for ourselves can we go, "Okay, that's a stumbling block." In my brain I just decided that I can't get into a prison to do this. How can I get into the prison? And then be able to yes and those ideas. So that whenever we hit those stumbling blocks instead of kind of going down the road of why it won't work which we often do, right? And that's super easy to figure out why it won't work. Oh, I did have two stumbling blocks. These actually pop up a lot because I have a background in like, storytelling and in product and like building things that solve problems but I don't really have a-- I don't know how cameras work, I don't know how to edit well. Right, so it's not possible. It's impossible for you to do it. Right, oh it's impossible. Like, how could I ever have all the skills of a documentary film maker? Yeah, you can't. The idea's dead. So we don't need you to invest. The idea is totally dead. We don't need you to invest anymore. So how can you manage that using the yes and? If you say, "I don't have the skills of a documentary film maker", how can you yes and yourself into a positive trajectory as opposed to a negative? Yes and I can contact my friends who are film makers and ask them for advice and mentorship. Yes and I can take some creative live classes on film making. Yeah, you can. And how to use a camera. Yes and I can use my phone and create a few small videos and like edit, try Adobe Premier and see what feels good. That's awesome. Yes I can get started. You can. I can start working. I'm so glad. I'm actually really excited for you. This sounds like a great idea. I wanna see this documentary happen, yeah? Will you be my life coach? (laughter) Jared, life coach and mayor. Alright, let's give Jared a round of applause. (applause) Thank you for doing that. Thank you so much. Oh by the way, I have a name for it. You said you wanted it to be Bourdain-esque? His show No Reservations, if this one's about games, No dice. Yeah. No dice. No dice. No dice. So the idea is simply that we want us to really figure out how to utilize yes and for ourselves as well cause one of the things we talked about in another class was how nice it feels to yes and other people. It feels so good to say yes to other people but sometimes we forget to empower ourselves and say yes to ourselves. So we want you to be thinking about how you're getting in your own way and then how to employ this, not only when you're giving a talk to people and noticing that people are nodding so maybe I should talk about this a little more. Or like, oh people are looking at their phones. Maybe they're taking notes. Yes, maybe it's a positive thing. Or like something's gone wrong and how do I just yes and myself and keep going and there's a million years that we can use it. And thinking about-- In summary, thinking about just how to really decide how we mentally want to prepare ourselves and then come into a space or into a room regardless of the meeting or a giant presentation, that we have ownership of that.

Class Description

Unless you’re an actor, comedian, musician or juggler, you probably don’t see yourself as a “performer.” But the truth is, if you ever have to stand up in a conference room and give a PowerPoint presentation or make a speech in front of your team, you are performing.

By embracing the performance aspect of public speaking and presenting, you can utilize the same tools that performers use to prepare themselves mentally, physically and vocally before they take the stage. And the more prepared you are, the more successful your speeches and presentations will be.

This course will give you tried and true preparation methods to ensure you’re ready for your big moment, whether you’re talking to a small group or presenting to a big crowd. You’ll learn hands-on exercises that will help transform you from a wary, reluctant speaker to a confident, dynamic performer.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Bring the best version of yourself to every room.
  • Think like an improviser so you feel more grounded, adaptable and positive.
  • Know the who, what and why of your presentation and audience.
  • Conquer your stage fright.
  • Handle mistakes, mishaps and technical glitches with grace.
  • Alleviate stuttering, stammering, speaking too quickly, being monotone, poor pacing and shifting weight.
  • Use physical, vocal and mental warm-up exercises to feel centered, alert and prepared.
  • Take creative risks.