- Get clear on your intention
- Remember, they’re human too
- Bring value
- Be compassionate
At some point in your career, you will probably present to a challenging group. Perhaps it’s to a team of senior executives or board members, or external stakeholders.
The thought of facilitating a tough or negative group may fill you with dread. Maybe you question your own authority, doubt your ability and wonder how on earth you’ll successfully lead the group to the best outcome. Straight away, you mentally put yourself in a reduced position.
So how can you find the courage to confidently deal with a ‘negative’ audience in a presentation?
Here are four steps you can take:
1. Have a clear intention
We always focus on the intention element in every communication context. Whenever we meet another person, we are trying to discover their intention. Getting clear on your intention conveys energetically to the audience how they can respond to you.
Communicating with a group is an exchange – of ideas and energy. As the facilitator, the energy you bring into the discussion – and the energy you and the group cultivate together – can greatly alter the mood in the room and the outcome.
So before you even enter the room to address a challenging group, set your intention. Something like, “Today the group will experience value and richness as I calmly and thoughtfully manage the day…” Remember to ‘see’ yourself in your best state of functioning – articulate, relaxed, focused. Also remember that your intention should always be about them. It is never about you. Consider how you can add value to the group and play a part in helping them solve the challenges they face.
2. Remember, they’re human too
It’s normal to be nervous presenting to a group of senior leaders. You may be unsure of all the rules and procedures and protocols.
But how can you get yourself to the most appropriate, supportive state, so you can deliver the right message and demonstrate your confidence and competence?
By realising that the people you are addressing are human. Just like you. They have the same issues, anxieties, fears and doubts as you. We all question our right to be in the room (what we call the imposter syndrome) – and we are all making it up as we go along.
It’s only through skill, circumstance and a little luck that the people in front of you are in the position they’re in. It’s not about whether they’re better or more capable than you. Once you realise this, you’re in a better position to communicate clearly and confidently – and address any challenges that arise during the discussion.
3. Always add value
Your job is to bring value, enrichment, a deeper understanding and more insight to the group. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have asked you to be there.
Start seeing yourself as a valuable participant in the dialogue. Add to the conversation, share your ideas and ask how you can support their decision-making.
Once you experience this mindset shift, you will bring a natural confidence into the room. This is an act of equality that will calm your nerves and ensure you add value, which is key to successful relationship management.
4. Be a compassionate communicator
What’s another way to build rapport and bring your best problem-solving skills to the discussion? Have a compassionate intent.
Compassion is crucial to your quality of communication. You can be compassionate by understanding why the people you’re presenting to are ‘negative’ or challenging.
Chances are, they carry a lot of responsibility. They’re probably stressed to the max and wake up every morning with a sense of overwhelming pressure. Keep this in mind and then approach the discussion with compassion and understanding. Go in with a relaxed approach and a quality of equality. Because that’s when you’ll be heard – and truly appreciated.
To improve your confidence and communicate with ease, register now for our Mastering Communication Training Program. Learn how to deliver key messages confidently in any communication environment so you can get your next big idea across the line.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional development with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.