Tips for Highly Sensitive Presenters

flickr photo courtesy Jules Minus #1268978010

Highly Sensitive with Brilliant Ideas

I learned about the highly sensitive person from Jenna Avery – writer and coach to creative writers. She introduced me to the topic and I discovered, not surprisingly, I have elements of the trait of the Highly Sensitive Person as researched and defined my  Elaine Aron Ph.D.

Chances are you also have some of these elements – one in five people do! The reluctant, introvert presenters share many of these elements. But it’s not just the introvert – 30% of Highly Sensitive People are extroverts. Do you relate to any of these (from Dr. Aron’s self test):

  • -easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input;
  • -aware of subtleties in your environment;
  • -affected by other people’s moods;
  • -easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, sirens close by;
  • -get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time;
  • -annoyed when people try to get you to do too many things at once;
  • -you try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things;
  • -you become unpleasantly aroused when a lot is going on around you;
  • -being very hungry creates a strong reaction in you, disrupting your concentration;
  • -you become nervous or shaky and do worse when you are being observed.

The Highly Sensitive Presenter

You can see how being highly sensitive to your surroundings can impact your ability to be your best when presenting. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • -Appreciate yourself for taking risks and learning something new, and not for the success;
  • -Keep your expectations realistic;
  • -Do not over schedule yourself, allow time for thinking;
  • -Break down your presentation preparation into small tasks;
  • -Allow time in between tasks to recharge;
  • -Practice, Practice, Practice your presentation so you know the content;
  • -Practice in the actual location / venue to become accustomed to the surroundings;
  • -Practice in front of a small group of supportive friends, co-workers in the location;
  • -Create a preparation practice of deep breathing or listening to soft music just before you present;
  • -Take time during the presentation to breath, take a sip of water, even have a break if it’s appropriate;
  • -Focus on having the conversation with your audience – one person at a time.

Being a highly sensitive presenter does not necessarily mean you are not confident. You have important things to say, you just prefer to say them to individuals or small groups so you can make a meaningful connection. Take it slow, prepare, appreciate yourself and your message. Go – be brilliant!