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Mindfulness is the popular buzzword or trending concept and has painted the town red with its relevance in our daily lives. It simply means to pay attention to your present moment rather than getting strayed or lost in the thoughts of past or future. It’s a small thing that can make a huge difference to anyone. But is it easier said than done? Take an example of cooking a recipe. If one cooks mindfully, he will take notice of every whiff of flavor and aroma that scintillates his kitchen. For one to get completely immersed into the entire experience of cooking, you do not have to pan out a spread of delectable recipes but simply be mindful of every instance of soulful cooking. What happens when we apply the same concept of being mindful to Public Speaking? Our series of revolutionary ideas and steps will help you to evolve into a far more joyful, confident and powerful speaker.
For many of us, Public Speaking can be a rollercoaster-like experience wherein the moment you step onto the stage, your stomach could turn upside down or you may suddenly go jelly feet! To have a mindful conversational and speaking ability, you really need to take these meaningful steps and bring back the required focus and zeal in your speech.
Research shows that paying attention to your posture consciously and adjusting it to the topic of discussion prepares you to become confident inward. It also increases the testosterone levels (in common terms, energy levels) and acts as a combat move against stress when one faces the public. Stand with your hands at the sides and back and shoulders slightly arched and balanced with your feet placed firmly on ground. Practice your ‘superhero pose’ in the preparatory stage to avoid an awkward moment on the stage
Do you remember your dance coach teaching you even the most difficult dance steps with an easy count of 1-2-3-4s and 5-6-7-8s… Even when you fear your life to dance on that stage, you managed to shake a leg and make yourself proud with this simple count. Now apply the same count but at a slower pace to your breathing. Taking slow breaths in at the count of 1-2-3-4 and releasing it at the count of 5-6-7-8 will help you to calm those butterflies in your stomach gradually. This will control your heart rate and calm your nerves that we experience at every opening of the speech.
One of the most effective techniques of adding engagement to your speech is through a steady eye contact. Keep a 5 – 10 seconds eye contact with your listener to not only calm your nerves but also understand your listener. You can observe his body language patterns and dig deeper in the psyche of your listener. It will give more scope to communicate and engage further.
Be aware of every sensation and feeling that you are undergoing and start being more compassionate towards yourself. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt as you stand solo in front of a large audience. Do not let your mind stray off in speculating on what your audience is thinking of you. Focus your energies on your core strengths and look inward to utilize them at the right moments without hassling on the judgements that your audience may draw. If you are afraid then do not negate or criticize yourself. It does a world of good to yourself when you throw vibes of compassion and care to yourself than being your biggest nemesis.
In Sanskrit language, ‘Atithi’ means guest. And Atithi devo bhava means Guest is God. Well, if you only take the essence, don’t you treat your guests with more warmth, attention and positive energy? Have a same sense of warmth towards your audience and include them in your aura – the circle of trust. Above all, they are going to learn something more from you. Welcoming them will help you to accept their presence more willingly and stay connected to them. It will also help you to take their critics with a pinch of salt just the way you do when you host a party at home for your guests.
To have a mindful public speaking experience, you must control your wandering mind. While it takes ugly turns and brings your confidence down, you should be able to say a firm ‘no’. Refocus your attention to the present moment and help yourself to stay confident and positive.
Chemicals react; People respond. Do you get perturbed of your audience’s questions…? Do you feel agitated and wish to suddenly react to their intent? When you react without a second thought, you are jumping to conclusions about your audience’s curiosity to learn from you. When you are not listening to their questions, right or wrong, you are not being a mindful listener.
The more you try to enjoy the experience, the more you will feel naturally confident. And the more you will be confident, the more your audience will enjoy your speech. Confidence is not about ‘not being nervous’ in your speeches and presentations. It is about being OK with being nervous and express your ideas fearlessly and enjoyably. Humans have evolved from the species of apes however, they never evolved out of aping others! As you feel the joy in your speech, your audience will also ape the positive vibes and enjoy the experience.
Public Speaking is certainly a mind-blowing experience but with these 8 steps it can be a mindful experience as well. Stay true to these steps and feel the joy of being a mindful speaker.
Also read: Common Comunication Mistakes
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