Kicking off 2018 in true Caerphilly Business Forum style, our first event saw Laura Evans of Unleash Your Potential address one of the most pressing concerns in the business world – how to give presentations without “knocking at the knees”. Laura introduced those present to NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and its applications in reframing our reactions to potentially stressful situations.
BREAKFAST MEETING: Laura Evans on using NLP for effective presentations
Laura began the proceedings with some background into her experience base – having set up Unleash Your Potential Ltd. in 2014, she previously operated as a HR & training specialist for organisations such as Travelodge Hotels, Barclaycard and the University of South Wales.
On her shift to NLP-based training, Evans described an old colleague of hers looking to change her career path. Unfortunately, said colleague’s poor presentation skills meant that each time she tried to extol her virtues, the words came out tangled. Her presenting left a lot to be desired.
With the scope of Evans’ role at the time, a development opportunity presented itself – one with Tony Robbins, one of the world’s most well-known specialists within the ‘leadership psychology’ field, and an NLP expert. Laura was shocked afterwards to find her colleague had also attended this course… and turned her poor presentation skills around.
Laura encouraged some early audience participation – asking which presenters were liked and disliked, as well as how each audience member rated themselves out of ten on their own skills. Humour, personality and creativity naturally came out on top for the attendees’ favourite traits, with scripted, boring, pushy discussions, and off-topic speeches sitting bottom of the pile.
On how each participant ranked themselves, Evans shared one of her most effective tips – using phones as personal development devices, in collaboration with practice making perfect. Evans recommended presenters film themselves before hand to identify any issues with their speeches. She gestured to the list of positive and negative traits, and confirmed that everyone in the room knew what made a good, or indeed a poor, speaker – the key was practice, and identifying any shortfalls.
NLP, Evans explained, was “an instruction manual for the mind” – from Collins Dictionary, “a therapy designed to alter behaviour by reprogramming unconscious patterns of thought”. We each make between 10,000 and 20,000 unconscious decisions per day – even brushing your teeth, Laura explained, consisted of multiple distinct decisions… picking up the brush, putting toothpaste on it, putting it in your mouth.
Evans explained that “we are creatures of habit… and most decisions are made from this perspective”. The key is to form newer, healthier, habits. In the context of presenting, Evans advised there is often a ‘trigger’ to anxiety – an action linked to a reaction. This could be as simple as looking at the calendar and seeing the presentation is next week.
The key to avoiding this panic, then, is to impact the action before the reaction occurs – changing how the stimulus is translated internally. “If any presenter says they aren’t nervous, they’re lying.” Laura addressed this commonly held opinion as “rubbish”, advising that confidence is attainable, and that limiting beliefs around this should always be challenged.
In closing, Laura explained to the audience that “confidence is just a feeling – trick your mind into feeling it. She identified a number of strategies to this end, including posture and visualisation – thinking back to a time you were confident and emulating it.
If you would like to learn more about NLP and join one of the many courses Laura runs please use the links below to get in contact.
Telephone: 02920 023311
Our next event will feature Huw Rowlands and Lowri Jones of Menter Caerffili on Tuesday 6th February at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus. The duo is set to discuss their work in regenerating the Welsh language across the Caerphilly borough, as well as their most effective strategies in doing so. A fascinating and timely topic.