Staying Present Keeps Me Calm

Wendy Capland is the founder and CEO of Vision Quest Consulting which provides the ultimate in programs for executive leadership development for top executives and their management teams. She is also the founder of The Magic Parties, a community of women who gather to birth themselves in new ways.

How do you calm yourself before a presentation?
I am not nervous anymore. After all, I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I do certain practices before I talk. I take deep breaths and ground myself. If I can, I close my eyes and do a spiritual practice of settling into my body, running energy from my feet to the heavens and then from the heavens through my feet. I then focus on being with my audience and deep into myself at the same time.

How do you prepare?
I do a lot of thinking about my talk before I commit anything to paper, mulling content around in my mind sometimes for weeks. When I feel ready, then I grab the computer and sketch out my presentation. I review it. I put it aside and use it as a guideline. I am fortunate as many of my talks are without PowerPoint, so I don’t have the added task of thinking about slides.

What do you do when you have that “gut” feeling?
When I am speaking and feel certain bodily sensations I use them as a trigger to decide what needs to happen in the room. Some people would call this intuition. I receive instructions on what I need to do and then follow them without letting my mental concerns get in the way.

What’s made a big difference for you?
I pay attention by staying present and then choosing what to do. I see the person in the back who is creating a problem, so I start to walk around the room. I realize I need to be a little more casual, so I walk out from behind the podium. For me it’s all about engaging the audience more than sharing facts. In the work I do, I stay fully in the present while at the same time having an airplane view of what is going on.

Wendy Capland is founder and CEO of Vision Quest Consulting and The Magic Parties. In 2009 she was selected as one of the top 500 coaches worldwide. The Magic Parties is an on-line and in-person community of women supporting women to become their best selves and answer the question, “What’s next for me and is it enough?”

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