Turn it on – giving confident business presentations

Turn it on – giving confident business presentations

This is the second in a short series of looking at what makes an effective presentation. It is specifically focused on professionals presenting to their clients, new and old.

Once prepared for the presentation, the next step is to get yourself in to the best possible state to present.

Time to turn it on!

Turning it on is about you being in the best possible state for making your presentation. Most of us get nervous before a presentation, regardless of whether it is to 2 people or 200 people. This is a perfectly natural reaction to what you are about to do, and in fact some people suggest that a few nerves make you perform better.

So here are some things to think about when preparing for the physical presentation.

What you project is what is perceived:

  • Being in a state of relaxed confidence puts both you and your audience at ease
  • If you feel worried or anxious people will also feel it
  • If you feel confident, certain and excited then that’s the feeling your audience are most likely to have too

Confidence comes from:

  • Being prepared (which you are! see last week’s blog on preparation)
  • Getting into a positive state (see below)
  • Visualising success – mentally rehearse doing the perfect presentation
  • Using positive affirmations – positive self talk
  • Have a conversation with your audience – don’t preach, chat! You will instantly make your audience feel relaxed and connected with you

Getting into state:

This is a really interesting part of confidence preparation and there are a large number of techniques used by many presenters. One of the most common, however, is anchoring. I will try to cover this as briefly as I can; anchoring can be the subject of hours of discussion.

An anchor is a stimulus which is linked to and triggers a physiological state. They work on the fact that emotional states have a powerful and pervasive influence on our thinking and behaviour. Examples of naturally occurring positive anchors include a favourite photograph, evocative smells, or a loved one’s special expression.  Even reading this you will notice how imagining these things can bring a smile to your face, and you feel positive and happy. For example, a piece of music used to bring back a positive memory will evoke those feelings each time you hear it. And, every time it does that it strengthens the association.

If we can take ourselves back to a previous positive state, and trigger it whenever we want, we can use this to help prepare us to perform at our best.

This is done in two stages. First, we choose the emotional state you want to reproduce, and then second, associate this with an anchor (or stimulus) so that you can bring it to mind whenever you want it. Politicians, sportsmen and women, those in the arts, all use anchoring and positive visualisation before performing.  Choose an experience such as a time when you had just won something, were promoted, overcame something you didn’t think you could, it’s that feeling you are looking to reproduce.

The next step is to build and reinforce the anchor. You must use an anchor that is unique, and not a part of your natural behaviour. It needs to be distinctive so that it doesn’t get associated with other states and behaviours and discrete, something you can do without being conspicuous. A good example is pressing your finger and thumb together, or squeezing an earlobe. Or, if you prefer use an auditory anchor, a word or phrase that you say to yourself internally.

Practice makes perfect

Try this out, it takes some practice to get right, but when you have it mastered, it is incredibly effective. Especially as we all live very busy lives, and before a presentation we need something that will clear our minds and focus us on the task at hand.

Perception is projection

Once you are in the very best state to present your audience will be able to be lead by you into the same state. Here are some ideas of how to elicit states in others:

  • tell a story that evoked that state
  • use your voice tone
  • do something that evokes that state naturally
  • ask them to move or use their bodies to create the state
  • create an imaginary context
  • describe a personal example

I hope that you have found this useful, and if you would like to get in touch to discuss this area please do. Please use the contacts page on www.jamesnathan.com for my contact details.

In part 3 we will be talking about connecting with your audience……

Until then, all the best,


Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at james@jamesnathan.com, use the contact page on my website www.jamesnathan.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathanxp, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to being in touch.



Read previous post:
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation – giving effective business presentations

This is the first in a short series of posts looking at what makes an effective presentation. It is specifically...