Having recently lost their father, it fell to the eldest to say a few words. But Mark couldn’t. Nerves got the better of him.

Leading our Presenting with Impact Skills Masterclass, red10 ‘s Lisa Smith and Serena Evans share how they helped Mark make this a turning point.

The Masterclass had come with an open invitation to anyone, from any background, who felt they would benefit from being able to speak to a group more confidently.

Nervous and bewildered

As usual the session attracted a completely mixed bag of nervous and bewildered participants, who clearly reconsidered their decision to spend a Saturday facing their biggest fear when told that the first task was to stand up and introduce themselves.

Mark, a 67 year old and the only man in the group, stood up last. It was clear he was going to find this tricky by his body language: he was sitting tightly wrapped, not making eye contact, and looked away every time Serena asked “Who’s next?”

When he finally stood up, he was terribly nervous but came straight out with his reason for being there.

Mark had recently lost his father and, as the eldest of 3 sons, it fell upon him to ‘say a few words’ at the wake – but he couldn’t do it. His nerves got the better of him and his younger brother did it instead.

Fear of talking to groups hindered work opportunities

Mark told us how terrible he felt about this and that he had always avoided talking to groups, so much so that it had hindered opportunities for him at work. But the situation at his father’s funeral was a turning point; he wanted to learn how to Speak Fearlessly so that he would know what to do in future, perhaps at his own daughter’s wedding and other family events.

As the day went on, Mark pushed himself through each challenge, working with breath and body, with eye contact exercises and taking each opportunity to stand up and practice new skills. He learned quickly and during the coaching sessions at the end of the day he asked if he could have another go!

Practical skills to take you out of your catastrophising mind

Lisa and Serena don’t promise to take the fear away with their workshops, but with a wealth experience from the UK Army, the stage and the film-set, they certainly give practical skills that take you out of your catastrophising mind and make you appear to be completely at ease.

Do you know someone who would you like to present in a way such that the audience relaxes, the overall effect for everyone is positive and their message is clear?