6 Ways to develop the mindset of a mindful presenter

Maurice DeCastro
6 min readMar 17, 2023

The mindset of a mindful presenter is the key to their effectiveness and success.

When it comes to public speaking and presenting, your mindset can be your greatest champion or most powerful foe.

We have a choice

We can worry about everything that could possibly go wrong and focus on:

– Our nerves

– Being judged

– Forgetting what to say

– Freezing

– Being asked a question we don’t know the answer to

– Our audience knowing more than we do

– Stuttering

– Our sweaty palms, heart racing, dry mouth or wobbly legs

– Technical problems with visuals

– Messing up

Alternatively, we can adopt the mindset of a mindful presenter by focusing on:

  1. Connecting rather than performing

The mindset of a mindful presenter is clear that their role is not to impress their audience but to connect with them.

Your audience want the facts, data, evidence and insights but they don’t want it at the expense of their emotional and intellectual well-being.

If your audience want to see a performance, they’ll pay to go the theatre. From a presenter and public speaker, they want to hear someone speak who:

– Knows what they are talking about

– Cares about what they are speaking about

– Can make a difference to the lives through what they know and care about

The mindset of a mindful presenter focuses on connecting with their audience emotionally as well as intellectually; not performing to impress them.

In a previous article, ‘Connecting is the key to high impact presenting,’ I shared 10 tips you may find very helpful.

2. Our audience want us to help them

The mindset of a mindful presenter is clear that the only reason our audience is there is because we have something to say which will make their lives:

– Better

– Easier

– Happier

– More effective

– More efficient

– Positively different

They don’t want you to simply read slides to them or share information that isn’t relevant to them.

Adopting the mindset of a mindful presenter in this way ensures that you don’t just read to them or overload them with data. You will ensure that everything you share is relevant, meaningful and helpful and not something they could easily read for themselves in an email or document.

If your intention is to help your audience, you can rest assured that they will want you to do well.

In a previous article, ‘Mindful Presenting — 9 Ways to RESPECT your Audience,’ I shared our belief that, ‘The first commandment of mindful presenting is to, respect your audience.’

3. It’s good to feel nervous

I left the boardroom over a decade ago to create Mindful Presenter Ltd.

My intention was to help professionals to stop presenting and to start connecting with each other instead.

I made a decision right from the start, that if the day every arrives that I don’t feel some level of nerves about presenting or speaking in public, I will stop doing it.

In my mind, if I don’t feel some level of anxiety when presenting, it suggests to me that I don’t care. If I don’t care about my audience, I feel I have no right imposing my voice on them; there are plenty of other ways of making a living.

The mindset of a mindful presenter is clear that public speaking and presenting isn’t a natural activity. Even the most seasoned presenters feel a little nervous; it’s because they care.

In a previous article, ‘7 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking,’ I wrote, ‘The fear of public speaking is as ubiquitous as it is paralysing for many people in the workplace today.’

I think Mark Twain was right

“There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.” Mark Twain

It’s good to feel nervous and a really good public speaking coach will help you to transform and channel your nervous energy into an asset.

4. ‘Yes but’ is for mediocre presenters

The mindset of a mindful presenter is clear that the words ‘Yes but’ are far more likely to hinder presenters than help them.

In a recent high impact public speaking and presentation skills workshop, I shared the following advice with the group.

– If it’s within your gift and appropriate, it’s better to stand up while presenting rather than stay seated.

– Bullet points aren’t helpful. If you are going to present a deck of slides fraught with bullet points, you may as well give them to your audience.

Response from delegates

– Presenting standing up

Yes but, I feel far more comfortable sitting down.’

– Bullet points

Yes but, I love bullet points. Using them means I don’t have to remember too much.

Both responses revolve around the presenters personal comfort rather than the impact on their audience.

There is a way to feel comfortable presenting when standing and to present without bullet points.

The mindset of a mindful presenter focuses on ‘how to’ and the benefits of doing so, rather than, ‘Yes but’.

In a previous article, ‘Do you have a bad habit when presenting?,’ I suggested that, ‘No one wants to see a slick, polished presenter who has flawlessly memorised and acted out a script. That said, they also don’t want to be distracted by bad habits.’

5. We live in a world of change

The mindset of a mindful presenter is clear that Eric Hoffer was right when he said, “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

The world has changed and continues to change every single day.

In a previous article, ‘The World is Changing — What About Public Speaking?,’ I wrote:

‘Given that just about everything seems to have changed I often ask the question ‘What exactly has changed in the world of public speaking and business presenting?

My experience is, not a great deal.’

The mindful presenter challenges the status quo of public speaking and presenting. That doesn’t mean they change things just for the sake of it. It means they are constantly learning how to equip themselves to connect with their audience in an ever changing world.

6. It’s about presence

The mindset of a mindful presenter is clear that one of the keys to highly effective public speaking and presenting is presence.

In a previous article I wrote, ‘Presenting With Impact — Presence is the key to success,’ I suggested that, ‘Many presenters aren’t really in the room when they are speaking. Their body might be there and their mouths are moving but what about their minds?’

Presence is often described as different things; gravitas, charisma and owning the room are just a few that spring to mind.

The mindset of a mindful presenter sees presence as:

Nobility

Being generous with your energy, insights and intent.

Awareness

Connecting with your mind and body long before you begin to speak

Purpose

Helping your audience to feel something

Presence is about being fully in the room with your audience; not worrying about the past or the future. It involves increasing your level of comfort in presenting, and your ability to connect with your audience.

It means getting and keeping your audience’s attention and crafting and delivering a presentation that will make a difference to them.

If you’d like to learn how to develop the mindset of a mindful presenter

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

Image courtesy of Canva.com

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Maurice DeCastro

Author, speaker, trainer, presenter - former corporate executive passionate about personal leadership, people and results.