Whip Presentations into Shape this Summer
It’s mid summer which is prime fitness mode with hiking, cycling, swimming, and a new bathing suit is fitting as well as it’s going to this year. But when the time clock drives the business owner inside, there is still a fitness routine. And no weights or yoga tapes required—all that is required is the brain! Consider how to whip your presentations into shape. Here is a sure-fire routine with five key exercises to get you going!
Strengthen your core. Pilates or other core-strengthening programs, build a strong core that looks great. Same thing with presentations. Don’t get lost in the nitty-gritty details. Instead, start with the big picture—the core. Ask and answering pointed questions like, What’s the main message…What is the one point the audience should take away? Start there, work until it’s Crystal-Light clear, and make sure everything else in relates to that core idea. If something doesn’t connect to it? Exercise the biceps and toss that idea in the trash.
Trim a little all over. After cutting all the biggest pockets of flabby ideas, there’s still some fine-tuning to do. Striving to be smaller tandems with firmer. Zero in on micro-flab—little unnecessary extras that cling on at the sentence level, dragging energy and power down in subtle but significant ways. Sentences in a presentation should be short. To the point. No big-long-convoluted-sentences-that-an-English-teacher-would-have-to-diagram-on-the-board. The audience only gets to hear each word and sentence once. If they miss it, or misunderstand it, they’re lost. So go easy on the audience, as a speaker, and KISS (keep it simple stupid).
High reps. High reps with low weights can sculpt your biceps and gluts, right? Same deal with presentations. It’s called practice. Ann Richards swore by it, practicing endless hours to create memorable speeches that seemed oh-so-natural and unrehearsed. Schedule regular practice sessions just like a workout. The more often you do it (high reps), the easier it will become, and the less stress before and during a speech (low weight).
Stretch. Flexible hamstrings don’t come by watching Olympic gymnasts on television. It’s done by stretching—often. When it comes to presentations, growth comes from stretching. Try something new—a different tone, a bigger audience, an interactive exercise. It’s okay to take it slow in the beginning, but the key is to steadily, consistently, consciously work on new ideas. This will take a speaker to yoga’s full lotus!
Cross train. Good athletes know cross training is key to maintaining fitness and improving performance. Some NFL coaches urge football players to take ballet for flexibility and strength. Fit cross training into the presentation workout by pulling from lessons of other performances or trainings. Belly-breathing during singing, running or yoga is also required in public presentations. That along with unlocking the legs and being prepared to move around is the softer version of cross training.
And one last point. Like any exercise routine, results don’t come by sitting on the couch watching the young, skinny actresses on television. Do the work, and keep it it! Even when it’s hard or boring. A healthy diet and exercise regime will get a girl back into your skinniest skinny jeans, and sticking with a presentation workout will earn confidence, recognition, and maybe even a small band of groupies.