It was based on the principles that were outlined in Star Wars by the Jedi Master Yoda, who is one of my favourite characters from the films and I often still quote him when working with clients.
There’s lots we can learn about presenting from this Jedi Grand Master.
Here are some of Yoda’s more famous sayings as well as some of his less well known lessons.
Using your best Yoda voice have a look at each one and ask yourself, “Where can I bring some Jedi techniques into my presenting?”
I think you’ll find it’s easier than you think!
1. “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”
When we use the word “try” unconsciously we give ourselves permission to fail. So when you say “I will try to engage the audience” then it won’t happen. If you decide to take action, then really do it. If you don’t know how to connect and engage an audience then find out how to do it. Be focussed and confident. Learn how to get rid of any self doubt because when you decide to do something, in your mind it’s as good as done.
2. “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Many people learn to present by watching other people doing it and then copying what they do.
And that’s ok as long as you are modelling someone who is great at presenting but unfortunately most of us copy poor techniques and learn bad habits. You must be prepared to identify and get rid of these bad habits to become outstanding. Do you know what your bad habits are? Do you know what to do instead?
3. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
All of our communication and all of our behaviours are state dependent. This means that our internal state- physiological and emotional- determine what we do and what we communicate.
If you are fearful of presenting then you will give yourself away both consciously and unconsciously and this will come across to your audience with the result that they will feel uncomfortable too. Learn to lose the fear. (Even Luke Skywalker let his fear lead him to some poor decisions almost got himself killed! )
4. “You will find only what you bring in.”
Every result we get is due to what we do or what we don’t do.
Every successful or unsuccessful presentation is directly attributable to what you believe about yourself as a presenter. Your beliefs about your own ability, value and worth and your beliefs about your audience decide the outcome. You need to become aware first of what you are “bringing in” by way of your beliefs and the story you are all ready telling yourself because this will determine the outcome. If these limit you then learn how to change them so that what you take with you will lead to the result you want to get.
5. “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”
Do you think Yoda had apprehensions when he began his Jedi training hundreds of years earlier? Do you think he felt his size would limit from becoming the best he could be? If he did, he learned to ignore his negative self-talk.
How often do you let your perceived limitations dictate what you achieve? How often do you let your imagination conjure up all the different ways your presentation won’t be good? How many times do you listen to that voice inside, that negative self talk that tells you how you will fail? Learning how to get rid of that negative self talk and give yourself positive messages instead is a key element in successful presenting.
6. “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
It has been said many times that “fear is the mind-killer”. Fear can paralyse action. It can stop us taking risks, learning, moving forward. Yoda is talking about uncovering the true root cause of what is stopping you or holding you back or really causing you the pain and fear you are experiencing. So when you have a fear of presenting what is it you are really frightened of? Is it drying up? feeling foolish? Of being the centre of attention? Feeling stupid? What is it precisely that causes the fear because until you identify the specific cause it will remain. Once this truth is known then “banish it you can”.
If you have any other lessons from Yoda please share below.
Until next time,
with best wishes for your success,
Cath Daley Ltd.
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